About 157 million people are under heat warnings and heat advisories Saturday as daytime temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 90s — and feel like more than 100 degrees — from the Great Plains to the East Coast.
“Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside,” the service said. “When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning the late evening.”
In Philadelphia and New Jersey, the weather service warned the heat may cause heat stress or heat stroke. The elderly and people with pre-existing conditions are most at risk.
In Detroit, where residents will see a heat index of up to 105 degrees Saturday, more than 200,000 people did not have power in the early morning hours after thunderstorms caused trees and branches to take down power lines.
By Saturday afternoon, power had been restored to all but about 70,000, officials said.
But relief is coming. A cold front will drop into the central US and portions of the Midwest late Saturday, which will bring cool air in the Midwest Sunday, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said. The East Coast will begin cooling down Monday, Cabrera said.
Until then, city officials are taking precautions against the sweltering heat and preparing for what could be a deadly weekend.
Heat wave in the Big Apple
In New York — which has declared an emergency — many events have been canceled or postponed after concerns of participants’ health.
Saturday’s card of horse racing at New York’s Saratoga Race Course was canceled. So were all races Saturday and Sunday at the Maryland Jockey Club in Laurel.
“The health and safety of our horses and jockeys is our highest priority,” Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra said.
“After exhausting all options to mitigate athlete, volunteer, spectator and staff exposure alike, we are unable to provide either a safe event experience or an alternate race weekend,” organizers said.
The city is opening about 500 air-conditioned “cooling centers” in public facilities. Public pools were to be open an extra hour (until 8 p.m.) from Friday through Sunday, And the city will set up portable drinking fountains at busy pedestrian areas through Sunday.
“Most incarcerated people are without air conditioning and the limited number of fans are only in the day rooms, leaving people to swelter, particularly while in their cells,” the organization said. “DOC is not providing appropriate summer clothes to many of our clients. People with medical needs have reported feeling nauseous and dizzy.”
Protect your animals
Animals, according to the weather service, can die of heat stroke within 15 minutes. Cracking car windows won’t help. Keep your pets at home during hot weather, the service said, and if you see an animal inside a car, don’t leave without solving the problem.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends lots of fresh, clean water.
How climate change has played a role
Each year, summer heat kills more Americans on average than any other natural disaster, CNN meteorologist Cabrera said.
The threat of heat waves will become more serious across the globe and more widespread as the climate crisis continues, says Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
“Climate projections indicate that if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current pathway, by the year 2100 three out of four people on Earth could be subject to at least 20 days per year of potentially deadly heat and humidity levels,” the report says.
CNN’s Jay Croft and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.