Northeast and Midwest prepare for dangerously high temperatures and a heat dome

Cases are poised to rise across much of the U.S. with dangerously high temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast next week, prompting health officials to urge people to make plans now to stay safe.

The heat wave follows an earlier-than-usual heat wave in the Southwest last week, which saw temperatures reach triple digits in cities like Phoenix, which saw 645 heat-related deaths last year. The world has seen it record temperatures this yearwith more than three-quarters of the world’s population suffering from extreme heat for at least one month.

Last year, the U.S. had the most heat waves — abnormally warm weather lasting more than two days — since 1936. In the South and Southwest, last year was the worst on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The next heat wave will intensify in the center of the country on Sunday before spreading east, the National Weather Service said, with extreme heat likely to reach daily records in some areas. The heat wave could last all week and into the weekend in many places. Parts of the country will also have one heat domewhere warm air is trapped by the atmosphere.

Which areas will experience extreme heat?

According to a heat risk map from the National Weather Service, there will be areas of extreme heat — when there is little or no lighting at night — from eastern Kansas to Maine. Heat will build over the Plains states on Sunday, where there will be extreme heat spreading east into the Great Lakes states and into the Northeast on Monday.

Temperatures will be in the mid to high 90s in many areas and are likely to reach daily records in the Ohio Valley and the Northeast, with the dew point causing some areas to feel as warm as 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the weather service said.

It will be the worst heat wave in the Detroit metro area in two decades or more, with temperatures forecast in the mid-90s and heat indices around 100 F starting Monday and possibly lasting into the weekend, National meteorologist Steven Freitag said Weather Service. There’s a chance the area could see its first 100-degree day since July 2012.

While overnight temperatures will drop into the 70s, which will provide some relief, the duration of the heat could have a cumulative and potentially dangerous effect on the body, Freitag said.

More than 75% of the world’s population has experienced extreme heat in the past year

What are the dangers of extreme heat?

Heat-related illnesses can be fatal if not recognized and treated early, and often start with muscle cramps or spasms, experts say. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke may follow.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating and fatigue; a weak pulse; skin that is cool, pale, or clammy; and headache, dizziness, nausea and fainting. The person should be moved to an air-conditioned room and offered sips of water. Loosen their clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or place them in a cool bath. Seek medical attention if they vomit.

A person suffering from heat stroke may experience headaches, confusion, nausea, dizziness, and a body temperature above 103 F. They may also have hot, red, dry, or moist skin; rapid pulse and fainting or loss of consciousness. The GGD advises people to call 911 immediately and, while waiting for help, use cool cloths or a cool bath and move them to an air-conditioned room, but do not give them anything to drink.

A National Institutes of Health-backed study published in 2023 predicted an increase in heat-related deaths from 2036 to 2065 due to rising temperatures.

“Climate change and its many manifestations will play an increasingly important role in the health of communities around the world in the coming decades,” said lead study author Dr. Sameed Khatana, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and staff cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said in a news release. “Climate change is also a health equity issue because it will disproportionately affect certain individuals and populations and could worsen pre-existing health disparities in the US.”

Young children and infantsPregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions are particularly vulnerable, as are those who cannot make ends meet or live alone. The NIH-backed study also said Black Americans may be at greater risk of heat-related deaths or illnesses.

How can you protect yourself from extreme heat?

Stay indoors in an air-conditioned area and limit outdoor activities during periods of extreme heat, experts said. If you don’t have air conditioning, see if your community will open cooling centers. But even people with air conditioning should plan ahead in the event of a power outage, says Freitag of the National Weather Service. Limit outdoor activities to the morning or, better yet, don’t go outside, he said.

Other tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

    1. Drink plenty of water and take a cool shower or bath.

    2. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and use your stove and oven less.

    3. Check on friends and relatives, especially those without air conditioning.

Communities can also prepare by opening cooling centers in places like schools and libraries. Some also send text messages to residents or have hotlines where people can call for help.

In Franklin County, Ohio, the Office on Aging is handing out fans to residents 60 and older, spokeswoman Kristin Howard said.

And some companies whose employees are working outdoors say they will start earlier to avoid the worst of the heat.

“When you get this kind of heat, any outdoor activities should be short-lived (preferably) … in the early morning hours,” Freitag said. “But otherwise, there should really be no outdoor activities involving physical exertion at the height of the day.”