Extreme heat will again scorch much of the United States, including areas where thousands of people have lost power

Temperatures could soar up to 20 degrees above average, pushing heat indices well into the triple digits.

Fifty locations in the central and southern United States could approach or exceed record high temperatures on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center. Several cities, including St. Louis, Nashville and Charlotte, North Carolina, have already broken daily records this week.
Adding to the misery, many homes remain without power after storms across the Midwest on Monday. That includes more than 200,000 customers without power in Ohio as of Wednesday morning, according to Poweroutage.us, with residents of Indiana and West Virginia also affected.

The majority of Ohio has been under an excessive heat warning, according to NWS, and a spokesperson for the AEP Ohio electric company told CNN that some customers should be prepared for outages that will last. until Thursday.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther on Wednesday called on residents to use cooling centers and swimming pools to beat the heat and to watch neighbors as power slowly comes back online.

“AEP is dealing with the damage from last night’s storms and high demand from excessive heat. They are working to restore power for everyone. I know it’s tough – I’m also without power at me,” the mayor said. said on social media.
Records have also been set by some power grid operators amid growing demand for air conditioning. The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Texas operator ERCOT have recorded electricity consumption records.

Schools have been forced to change schedules due to excessive heat. In Wisconsin, where a heat index of 108 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded by the NWS on Tuesday at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee Public Schools dismissed students early and said they would do so again on Wednesday .

“Young children and people with certain health conditions are particularly vulnerable to heat-related distress,” the MPS announced on its website. “For everyone’s safety, the district has decided to shorten the school day.”

More than a dozen Minnesota schools that are not fully air-conditioned switched to online learning on Tuesday, according to Minneapolis Public Schools. Detroit Public Schools announced it would close all in-person schools three hours early through Friday due to extreme heat.

Liz Havard, Philip Smith and Miles Havard cool off on Monday as they cruise down Turkey Creek in Niceville, Florida.  The National Weather Service in Mobile issued a heat advisory for Monday and Tuesday, with heat index temperatures exceeding 100 degrees along the Florida Panhandle.

Relief could soon arrive for the Midwest as the heat is expected to break late Wednesday, with a cold front bringing cooler temperatures, scattered showers and thunderstorms.

Temperatures will drop to more average levels as the front moves through Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and Chicago on Wednesday night. The cold front is expected to cross Ohio by Thursday.

Still, even with temperatures dropping a few degrees, particularly across the Upper Midwest, temperatures across much of the region will remain above normal, with areas of record high temperatures persisting into the latter part of the week. .

On Thursday, temperatures are expected to climb well above normal for much of the Great Basin, the Rockies and the Southwest. An excessive heat warning has also been issued for parts of the southern California and Arizona interior, where daytime highs are again expected to climb into the triple digits.

Don’t rely on fans to keep you cool in extreme heat. Here’s how to stay safe.

Wildfires rage in Arizona, New Mexico

Meanwhile, southwestern states faced a high risk of wildfires due to windy conditions and relative humidity on Tuesday.
In Arizona, the pipeline fire just north of Flagstaff burned more than 20,000 acres Tuesday afternoon, Coconino National Forest officials said. The fire was first spotted on Sunday, according to a Tuesday update from InciWeb.
Officials go door-to-door for mandatory evacuations after wildfire spreads to Angeles National Forest in Southern California

A second fire a few miles away, the Haywire Fire, has burned about 4,000 acres, according to InciWeb, and both fires remain 0% contained.

New Mexico firefighters are battling the two largest wildfires in state history, the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire just northeast of Santa Fe and the Black Fire in the Gila National Forest. They burned over 600,000 acres combined.

There are 40 large active wildfires in the United States as of Tuesday that have burned nearly 1.2 million acres in six states – Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Texas and Utah, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

“More than 6,200 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents,” the NIFC said Tuesday.

CNN’s Robert Shackelford, Judson Jones, Theresa Waldrop, Andy Rose and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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