(CNN) — Scorching heat compounded by stifling humidity is expected to linger through the end of the month in many parts of the US, where millions of people are likely to endure temperatures above 100 degrees.

More than 55 million Americans, from the West to New England, were under a heat warning or advisory as of early Friday.

“Record heat is expected in the northeastern US this weekend, while above-average (temperatures) persist in the south-central US,” the Prediction Center wrote Thursday. Meteorological.

The highest temperature recorded this Thursday was in Death Valley, California, which reached 50 degrees Celsius, according to preliminary data collected by the prediction center.

The double combination of high temperatures and repressive humidity will push the heat index — how the air feels — to at least 40C in many areas, making conditions especially dangerous, the forecast center warned.

The city of Dallas recorded its first heat-related death of the year, a 66-year-old woman who had underlying health conditions, the county Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

In Arizona, authorities in Maricopa County reported that at least 29 people have died from heat-related issues since March, most of them outdoors. This compares with 16 deaths reported during the same period in 2021, the county public health department said. Dozens more deaths in the county from heat-related causes are under investigation.

Dangerous temperatures have pushed state and local leaders to issue heat emergencies and offer resources to vulnerable residents. They are imploring residents to stay hydrated and limit time outdoors as much as possible.

Unprecedented heat wave hits the US 4:18

In Philadelphia, authorities have extended the heat health emergency through Sunday, which means resources, including cooling centers, home visits by special teams and improved day care for the homeless, will continue to be available. available during the weekend.

And in Washington, the mayor also announced a heat emergency effective through Monday of next week, as temperatures are expected to be 35C higher. Shelters and cooling centers have also been opened to care for those who need them, the mayor said.

The extreme heat in the US has also been reflected in the deadly situation in Europe, where records have been broken and the European Forest Fire Information System has put 19 European countries on “extreme danger” alert for forest fires.

A difficult weekend ahead

More than 85% of the population, that is, 275 million Americans, could see high temperatures above 90 degrees during the next week. And at least 60 million people could see high temperatures of 100 degrees or more over the next seven days.

“So far this week, 60 daily high temperature records have been broken as dangerous heat has engulfed much of the nation,” the Weather Prediction Center wrote. “More records are likely to be set over the next week,” he said.

Heat index values ​​— the temperature you feel when heat meets humidity — could top 100 degrees Fahrenheit in several states through this weekend, especially in the Midwest, Southeast and East Coast.

The south-central region can expect to see triple-digit high temperatures every day between this Sunday and next Thursday, the forecast center said.

Daytime temperatures could exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in much of the Southwest, with some areas exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the center.

“Overnight lows are likely to remain around 26C in many places, providing little overnight relief,” the center wrote.

High temperatures also threaten livestock

As high temperatures continue to oppress much of the country, authorities are also struggling to protect farmers and their livestock.

In Missouri, the governor declared a drought emergency in 53 of the state’s more than 100 counties to allow farmers to use water from state parks. Officials are also considering using the parks to grow hay to help feed the farmers’ animals.

The situation in Texas is so dire that ranchers are running out of water, forcing them to sell their cattle at a rate not seen in more than a decade, according to David Anderson, a livestock economist at Texas A&M University.

The dry, hot conditions are essentially killing the grass, severely thinning the pastures where cattle graze, leaving many ranchers with no choice but to slaughter cattle they can’t feed.

“Many ranchers rely on ponds and reservoirs that capture rainfall,” Anderson said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about growers running out of water.”

CNN’s Andy Rose, Paradise Afshar, Dakin Andone, Amir Vera and Amanda Musa contributed to this report.

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