More than 55 million Americans from the West to New England were under either heat warnings or advisories as of early Friday.

“Record-breaking heat is expected over the Northeast US this weekend, while above-average (temperatures) persist in the South Central US,” the Weather Prediction Center wrote Thursday.
The highest temperature recorded Thursday was in Death Valley, California, which hit 122 degrees Fahrenheit, according to preliminary data gathered by the prediction center.

The double-whammy of high temperatures and repressive humidity will push the heat index — what the air feels like — to at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit in many areas, making conditions especially dangerous, the prediction 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 Health and Human Services said on Thursday.

In Arizona, officials in Maricopa County, reported that at least 29 people died from heat-related issues since March — the majority of whom were outdoors. It compares with 16 reported deaths during the same period in 2021, the county’s public health department said. Dozens of other deaths are under investigation in the county for heat-related causes.

The 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.

In Philadelphia, officials extended a heat health emergency through Sunday — meaning resources including cooling centers, home visits by special teams and enhanced daytime outreach to people experiencing homelessness will remain available through the weekend.
And in Washington, DC, the mayor also announced a heat emergency effective through Monday morning as temperatures are expected to be 95 degrees or higher. Shelters and cooling centers have also opened to serve those who need them, the mayor said.

The extreme heat in the US has also been mirrored in the deadly condition in Europe, where records have been shattered and the European Forest Fire Information System put 19 European countries on “extreme danger” alerts for wildfires.

Grim weekend ahead

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

“So far this week, 60 daily high temperature records have been tied/broken as dangerous heat enveloped much of the Nation.” the Weather Prediction Center wrote. “More records are likely to be set over the next week,” it said.

Heat index values — the temperature it feels like when heat is combined with humidity — could top 100 degrees in a number of states through this weekend, particularly in the Midwest, the Southeast and on the East Coast.

The south-central region can expect to see high temperatures in the triple digits every day between Sunday and next Thursday, the prediction center noted.

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

“Overnight lows are likely to remain in the 80s in many spots, providing little nighttime relief,” the center wrote.

 An aerial view of people gathered near a homeless encampment Thursday afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona.

High temperatures also threaten livestock

As the high temperatures continue to oppress much of the country, officials are also faced with protecting farmers and their livestock.

In Missouri, the governor declared 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 use 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 causing grass to die off, severely thinning the pastures where cattle graze, which leaves many ranchers no choice but to send cattle they can’t feed to slaughter.

“A lot of ranchers rely on ponds and tanks that capture rainfall,” Anderson said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about ranchers 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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