Post image for Sweltering heat wave grips large chunk of the nation

Sweltering heat wave grips large chunk of the nation

by Jorge Hernandez on July 21, 2011

A stifling heat wave that was once limited to the southern United States has spread to the central and eastern parts, prompting safety warnings from officials across the country. MSNBC.com reports the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for more than 141 million people across 12 states as heat indices could reach as high as 120 degrees.

The warning comes after 22 people died in the last week as a result of the high temperatures. The region that will likely receive the brunt of this latest heat wave is the mid-Atlantic states, with Washington D.C. expected to see no relief until August. Additionally, meteorologists have said that high temperatures in New York and New England could raise the threat of severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

The effects of the heat wave are especially far reaching, and this could be the worst stretch of weather since 1995, when a heat wave caused the deaths of hundreds of people in Chicago alone.

"With the number of days of extreme heat and humidity of the current heat wave, it may be more significant and impact a larger area than the deadly 1995 heat wave," AccuWeather meteorologist Jim Andrews told USA Today.

The high temperatures have been especially damaging on crops such as corn, and in South Dakota, as many as 1,500 cattle have died due to the heat. Furthermore, hospitals in Iowa and Kansas have seen a slew of patients as a result of the weather.

Unfortunately for the East Coast, AccuWeather says that the worst of the heat is still yet to come. The website predicts that Friday temperatures will like break the 100-degree mark in Philadelphia and D.C., while Boston and New York City will be in the upper 90s.

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