More than 150 million people across the United States were on some form of heat alert Thursday with cooking temperatures expected in the Pacific Northwest, parts of the Plains and the South, and much of the northeast.
In the Midwest, hundreds of thousands of people faced the prospect of facing scorching temperatures and sweltering humidity without electricity or air conditioning after high winds and heavy rains ravaged the Great Lakes this week. gusts up to 80 mph knocked down trees and power lines, causing widespread blackouts in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.
“Food spoilage, no air conditioning, drugs that need to be refrigerated,” said DeWayne Smoots, deputy chief of the C fire department, listing residents’ concerns. “How do you stay cool? Going out is not going to help you.
On Wednesday, Mr. Smoots and his team traveled down roads dotted with uprooted trees to answer dozens of calls across town about downed power lines. Recovery efforts were put to the test by persistent severe thunderstorms across the region on Wednesday evening, with much of the state under tornado watch.
Temperatures could reach the 90s on Thursday in a place where power was cut in southern Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.
Temperatures are also threatening to break records in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, less than two months after an extreme heat wave hit the region, killing hundreds. Record temperatures are also expected in the northeast on Thursday. The heat index value – which combines air temperature and humidity to provide a number of what air actually looks like – is expected to reach 106 in New York City and 110 in Washington, DC.
In Portland, Oregon, a high of 100 was expected on Thursday.
“Yes, it’s summer, but that kind of heat can kill,” the National Weather Service warned on Twitter, encouraging people living in areas with extreme heat to avoid strenuous activity and stay hydrated.
And in California, firefighters were bracing for the continued spread of the Dixie blaze as thunderstorms threatened to form over the blaze, which has now consumed more than 500,000 acres.
Dusty winds caused by storms could cause “chaotic behavior,” said Rich Thompson, a national weather service that tracked the Dixie Fire. Storms are not expected to bring rain that would help temper the blaze, he said, although the exact conditions of the storm where the blaze is spreading are difficult to predict.
“Anyone can guess how active the fire will be,” Mr. Thompson said.