Heat wave forces more than 50 million Americans under heat advisories

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — From the desert Southwest to the heartland, more than 50 million Americans were thrust under heat advisories Sunday as oppressive temperatures scorched what the National Weather Service called an “expansive portion of the U.S.”

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The historic heat wave brought triple-digit temperatures to cities such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver, while California’s Death Valley saw the mercury rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, USA Today reported.

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According to the NWS, Phoenix tied its record high, set in 1918, of 114 degrees Fahrenheit, Las Vegas tied its 1956 record of 109 degrees, and Denver tied its 2013 record of 100 degrees.

Meanwhile, portions of Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi faced weekend heat advisories, as the western wave is forecast to roll eastward this week, according to USA Today.

Savage heat in Northern California saw slight relief Sunday, while advisories for the southern portions of the state were extended through the end of the day. Meteorologists warned of excessively high “heat risk” in south-central Arizona, where temperatures could climb as high as 115 degrees through the close of the weekend.

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According to the NWS, a strong Pacific cold front is expected to bring relief to the desert Southwest by Monday, but the excessive heat is forecast to expand across the central and eastern United States, bringing record-breaking temperatures as far north as the central Plains and as far east as the Carolinas.

In turn, strong to severe storms are possible across portions of the northern/central Plains, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic through Sunday night, the NWS reported.

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“As heat and humidity build on Monday, a complex of severe storms may track across northern Illinois,” the weather service in Chicago stated, adding, “Dangerous heat and humidity will follow Tuesday and Wednesday.”

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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