More than 80 million Americans from West to New England were under either heat warnings or advice as of Friday morning.
The city of Dallas recorded its first heat-related death of the year, a 66-year-old woman with underlying health conditions, County Health and Human Services said Thursday.
In Arizona, officials in Maricopa County reported that at least 29 people have died from heat-related problems since March — most of them outdoors. This compares to 16 reported deaths in the same period in 2021, the county health department said. Dozens more deaths are being investigated in the county for heat-related causes.
Dangerous temperatures have prompted state and local politicians to declare heat emergencies and offer resources to vulnerable residents. They are imploring residents to stay hydrated and limit time outdoors as much as possible.
The extreme heat in the US is also reflected in deadly conditions in Europe, where records have been broken and the European Forest Fire Information System has alerted 19 European countries to “extreme risk” of wildfires.
Grim weekend ahead
About 85% of the US population – or 273 million people – could experience high temperatures above 90 degrees in the next week. And about 55 million people could see high temperatures of 100 degrees or more over the next seven days.
Heat index readings — the temperature that feels like when heat combines with humidity — could top 100 degrees this weekend in a number of states, particularly in the Midwest, Southeast and East Coast.
On Sunday, the heat index could rise above 105 in parts of the northeast and mid-Atlantic on Sunday, the forecast center said.
Daytime temperatures could top 100 degrees over much of the south-west over the weekend, with some areas surpassing 110 degrees, the center said.
The south-central region can expect high temperatures in the triple digits any day between Sunday and Thursday, the forecast center noted.
“There is some good news in the mid-range (after the weekend) as an approaching cold front brings a brief injection of cooler temperatures to the Midwest and Northeast, but the core of the intense heat is shifting early to the US South and Pacific Northwest next week,” the forecast center wrote.
High temperatures also threaten livestock
As high temperatures continue to pressure much of the country, officials must also 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 feed 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 essentially cause grass to die off, severely thinning the pastures where cattle graze, leaving many ranchers with no choice but to send cattle they cannot feed to slaughter.
“Many ranchers rely on ponds and tanks to capture rainfall,” Anderson said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about ranchers running out of water.”
CNN’s Andy Rose, Judson Jones, Paradise Afshar, Dakin Andone, Amir Vera and Amanda Musa contributed to this report.