The scorching heat wave across the country could affect up to 200 million Americans, from the Midwest to the East Coast, and is already responsible for at least six deaths, authorities say.
Four people died in Maryland from heat-related causes, one person died in Arizona, and another in Arkansas, with temperatures averaging from the mid 90s to lower triple digits, according to CBS News. However, the heat index increases the overall temperature to 100-115 degrees, with the record-high temperatures set to last through the weekend.
States from Massachusetts to Minnesota are feeling the oppressive heat, with a cluster of severe thunderstorms throughout east-central Minnesota on Saturday, according to CBS Minnesota.
The region is under a flash flood warning until 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
CBS Minnesota meteorologist Mike Augustyniak said residents should treat the flash flood advisory as a tornado warning, due to the atmosphere being more charged up Saturday than it was on Friday.
⚠️ HEY WINONA heads up: A SEVERE T-STORM with a history of producing 65 mph wind gusts is about 10 mins away. Get into your shelter now; this is a dangerous storm that has produced a swath of damage across southern #MNwx already, and could cause flooding pic.twitter.com/UMoDES8IOR— Mike Augustyniak (@MikeAugustyniak) July 20, 2019
Meanwhile, police in Braintree, Massachusetts, jokingly warned potential criminals to refrain from engaging in criminal activity during the heat wave due to the extremely high temperatures.
“Folks. Due to the extreme heat, we are asking anyone thinking of doing criminal activity to hold off until Monday,” the department’s Facebook post read. “It is straight-up hot as soccer balls out there. Conducting criminal activity, in this extreme heat is next level henchmen status, and also very dangerous.”
The Braintree Police Department’s post continued, “Stay home, blast the AC, binge ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3, play with the face app, practice karate in your basement We will all meet again on Monday when it’s cooler.”
Meanwhile, officials in Washington D.C., as well as dozens of other U.S. cities, have activated a heat emergency plan.
Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, the district’s director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, told CBS that officials will continue to track the hazardous temperatures.
“This is going to be one of the most severe heat events that we’ve had in the last several years,” Rodriguez said.
The East Coast will bear the brunt of the dangerous heat wave, however, cities in the Midwest will be affected as well, with doctors and health officials warning of heat illness symptoms, ranging from headaches and nausea.