From Texas and Louisiana to Wyoming, the heat is on.
Temperatures today across the middle of the country are forecast to reach into the 90s and 100s. But it's not just the heat. The humidity is relatively high as well, with dew point values in the 60s and 70s. The high temperatures and dew point values will push heat index values, a measure of how hot it feels, into the upper 90s, 100s, even 110s. On top of this, night temperatures will not bring much relief. In some places temperatures will only cool down toward the low and mid 70s.
For Lake Charles, Louisiana, the forecast calls for a high temperatures today of 100 degrees, with a heat index of 108, this according to the National Weather Service. The nighttime temperature is only forecast to drop into the mid 70s. In San Antonio, Texas, temperatures are forecast to reach near 104 degrees with a heat index of the same value. Nighttime temperatures in San Antonio are forecast to only drop into the upper 70s.
Due to the intense heat and humidity, heat advisories have been issued for at least 10 states. Government officials are encouraging people who live in these areas to limit their activity outside, move any outdoor work to the mornings and evenings, and drink lots of water, among many other recommendations.
This type of a heat can be very dangerous. According to the National Weather Service's Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services, at least 206 people died from heat related illnesses in 2011. That number was second only to the number of people who died from tornadoes (553 fatalities).
Heat has become more of a weather and safety issue over the last decade. From 2002 to 2011, an average of 119 people died from heat related illness. That is the most number of fatalities caused by any type of weather (tornadoes, flooding, snow storms, etc.) over that time period.
And it seems relief in the heat will not come any time soon. Forecasts call for the hot weather to continue across the middle of the country and expand farther east.