Forecasts show a weekend of wild weather ahead across much of the United States, as dangerous heat waves grip the West and South, severe storms batter the Central Plains, and poor air quality continues to affect the Midwestern, Northeastern, and Mid-Atlantic states.
in a update fridayThe National Weather Service said heat is building up along the West Coast and is expected to bring hot, dry conditions to much of California this weekend. Parts of central and northern California could approach 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, and the Southwest could see temperatures well above that mark, he said.
In addition to increasing the risk of heat-related illness and death, hot and dry conditions in the West raise concerns about the outbreak of wildfires.
Across the central plains and to the south, which have been baked by high temperatures for days, the heat is expected to persist.
“Higher temperatures in the triple digits are forecast to hit as far north as Missouri today, while more oppressive humidity will continue further south, closer to the Gulf Coast,” the weather service said Friday.
Texas, which has been sweltering under an intense early-season heat wave for the past three weeks, is expected to cool down a bit due to triple-digit temperatures. Scorching conditions have been blamed for at least 13 deaths in the state, health officials said.
The deadly heat wave was fueled by a high-pressure dome that stalled over Texas and Mexico, causing heat and humidity to rise during the day with little relief overnight. Mexico’s Ministry of Health said Thursday that at least 100 people have died in the past two weeks from this extreme heat event. Reuters reported.
Studies have shown that climate change is increasing the frequency, severity, and duration of heat waves.
As the ongoing heat dome expands south, heat and humidity is expected to blanket parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama through the weekend.
Strong storms are also forecast across a large swath of the country on Friday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center said occasional hail and damaging winds could develop in the Central Plains, stretching from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Tennessee Valley.
Meanwhile, parts of the country are still dealing with poor air quality, as smoke from the wildfires in Canada continues to drift over states in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Weather service officials said, however, that air quality is expected to slowly improve «due to a combination of thunderstorm activity and smoke dispersal as we approach the weekend.»