Some 34 states faced record temperatures on Saturday as a relentless heat wave stretched from the Texas Panhandle to northern Maine.
The National Weather Service said a “dangerous heat wave” would continue through Sunday in the Eastern U.S., while strong and severe thunderstorms were expected to cool off the Midwest and Upper Great Lakes by Sunday, although the storms brought their own risks.
East Coast residents, however, could see oppressively high temperatures until Monday.
High temperatures and humidity mean that heat indexes reached about 115 degrees in some areas, The New York Times reported.
Some 157 million people were under heat advisories on Saturday, according to CNN.
In New York City, officials set up 500 cooling centers, which you can see here. They also canceled a triathlon and other events, and urged building owners to conserve energy by keeping thermostats at a minimum of 78 degrees in an effort to prevent another massive power outage like the one that happened last weekend.
In Chicago, heat warnings were issued until 8 p.m. on Saturday, and the maximum heat index hit about 110 degrees. The National Weather Service warned, however, that the “main risk for this afternoon will be wind and heavy rain,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Several outdoor events planned for Saturday were canceled, including a 5K run. At the Pitchfork Music Festival, which started on Friday, organizers provided three city transit “cooling” buses and urged concertgoers to drink a lot of water.
In Detroit, some 200,000 residents were without power early Saturday morning due to downed power lines from the previous night’s storms, CNN said.
At least three deaths this week have been attributed to the ongoing heat wave. NBC News reported that two people died from extreme heat this week in Maryland, while former New York Giants offensive lineman Mitch Petrus died Thursday of heatstroke in Arkansas. Two other Maryland residents died due to heat-related causes earlier this month.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged Marylanders on Friday to “head to air-conditioned spaces as temperatures peak this afternoon.”
According to a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “extreme heat days are poised to rise steeply in frequency and severity in just the next few decades. This heat would cause large areas of the United States to become dangerously hot and would threaten the health, lives, and livelihoods of millions of people.”
The analysis found that if no action is taken to reduce dangerous, heat-trapping emissions, by mid-century (2036-2065) in the U.S., “The average number of days per year with a heat index above 100°F will more than double, while the number of days per year above 105°F will quadruple.”
Additionally, about “one-third of the nation’s 481 urban areas with a population of 50,000 people or more will experience an average of 30 or more days per year with a heat index above 105°F, a rise from just three cities historically,” the report said.