Image: Ice dumped into wavepool
David Alvey  /  Hawaiian Falls
Hundreds of children and adults watch as ice is dumped in the wavepool at Hawaiian Falls/The Colony on Wednesday
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 7/14/2011 6:52:45 PM ET 2011-07-14T22:52:45

While much of the U.S. was cooler Thursday ahead of another heat wave, temperatures were still around triple digits in Oklahoma and Texas — where ways to beat the heat included dumping 2,400 pounds of ice into a pool with hundreds of people.

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"The stage is being set for a massive heat wave to develop into next week as a large area of high pressure is anticipated to circulate hot and humid air over much of the central and eastern U.S.," the National Weather Service warned. "Maximum heat index values of at least 100°F are likely across much of this area by the middle of next week, with heat index values in excess of 110°F possible over portions of these areas."

"The big story for the coming weekend will be the building heat," added Jim Keeney, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "It looks like it's going to be a long-term heat wave."

In the thick of the heat wave is Oklahoma where Gov. Mary Fallin asked Oklahomans to pray for rain this Sunday.

"The power of prayer is a wonderful thing, and I would ask every Oklahoman to look to a greater power this weekend and ask for rain," Fallin said in a news release on Thursday.

Image: Map of U.S. heat index forecast
This National Weather Service forecast shows much of the U.S. with heat indices above 100 on Wednesday.

Fallin on Thursday also issued a ban on outdoor burning for the western half of the state because of the extreme drought conditions.

"The number of wildfires we have had over the last few months is extremely tough on our state firefighters," Fallin said.

Earlier this year Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked Texans to pray for rain because of the drought there.

As of July 12, about 72 percent of Texas and 43 percent of Oklahoma are experiencing the worst possible drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

On Thursday, 10 states were under heat advisories or watches, down from earlier in the week when 24 states were on the list.

Video: Drought engulfs 14 states (on this page)

"The worst states are Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana," said Victor Murphy, a weather service meteorologist, who said Texas is seeing the warmest summer on record so far.

An amusement park outside Dallas decided it would cool off folks by dumping 2,400 pounds of ice into its wavepool on Wednesday.

"We normally do this once a year when the temps have been in the 100s for more than a week," said David Alvey, a spokesman for Hawaiian Falls/The Colony.

Alvey didn't catch the temperature when the ice was dumped at 2 p.m., but added: "My thermometer said, 'Hotter than blazes.'"

"Just being around the ice dropped the temp by at least 10 degrees," he said. "The kids I talked to in the water after the dump said they felt a cool breeze as soon as the wheelbarrows dumped the first load."

Both Texas and Oklahoma are expected to continue with temperatures up to 105 degrees through the weekend.

That heat will spread into the Midwest by the weekend and persist into early next week, weather.com reported.

That means it could feel like 105 degrees or above over a large swath of the nation this weekend, from the Dakotas and Minnesota to Texas and Louisiana.

PhotoBlog: View, discuss weather photos

In anticipation of that spreading heat wave, the National Weather Service on Thursday issued new heat advisories for areas just north of Texas:

  • Tulsa, Okla.: a heat warning was issued for Thursday and a heat watch runs through Wednesday night;
  • Kansas City, Mo.: heat watch runs from Friday morning through Monday night;
  • Topeka, Kan.: heat watch runs from Friday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon;
  • Omaha, Neb.: heat watch runs from Friday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Drought engulfs 14 states

Interactive: Heat wave

  1. Above: Interactive Heat wave
  2. Map Beach report 2011

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