It was a weekend of punishing heat across the Central and Southern Plains with even more blistering temperatures ahead for much of the rest of the country.
Denver saw 100 degrees on Saturday, tying their earliest 100-degree day on record. Meanwhile, Austin is in the middle of a punishing stretch of 100-degree days with Sunday registering their seventh straight. The all-time record for consecutive 100-degree days is 10 and this could be snapped this week.
Across Texas, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) set a new all-time power usage record of ~75,083 MW for a Sunday, which is notable given it was a weekend day when many industries and businesses are closed.
And the blistering heat is expected to expand in scope and intensity this upcoming week. In fact, over the next seven days over 235 million Americans will experience temperatures 90 or hotter.
About 84 million people woke up under heat alerts Monday, spanning two dozen states from the Central Plains and Midwest to Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic. These include Excessive Heat Warnings and Watches for the Minneapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Memphis, Tennessee, and Raleigh, North Carolina, metro areas where highs in the 90s combined with high humidity will make it feel more like 100-105 degrees.
The dangerous heat will linger most of the week in these regions, which will increase the risk for heat illness. More than 100 daily records are set to be broken through Wednesday. Through late week, the above average temperatures will make their way into the Northeast while the Southeast continues to bake.
By the time the heat makes it East, it could be some of the hottest temperatures parts of the Mid-Atlantic have seen in a decade.
Charlotte, North Carolina's, forecast highs of 100 Tuesday and Wednesday will be rare heat for them. The last 100 degree day in Charlotte was seven years ago.
If Asheville, North Carolina, experiences a heat index of 100 or higher, that will be the first time since 1999.
These temperatures could rival the deadly heat event that occurred over the Carolinas in 2012 when the heat index values soared to 110-120 degrees.
And this high heat and humidity will provide fuel for strong to severe thunderstorms nearly every day this week.
The most significant of the severe storms will occur along the northern edge of the heat dome, coined the "Ring of Fire," across portions of the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
On Monday, 43 million people are at risk for severe storms across two areas: the Dakotas and the Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley. Damaging winds will be the main risk, especially across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley area, where a large, long-lived damaging wind event is possible through this evening. This thunderstorm complex could pack winds stronger than 75 mph as it drives across several states into the evening.
Cities to watch include Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Depending on how the storms evolve Monday, the risk may need to be extended farther south and east to include cities like Washington it becomes apparent the thunderstorm complex is able to persist into the overnight hours.
On Tuesday, the greatest risk for severe storms will be across the Mid-Atlantic, where all hazards (hail, high winds and isolated tornadoes) will be possible for cities like Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia, and Raleigh and Wilmington, North Carolina.
By Wednesday, 6 million people are at risk for severe storms when the risk returns to the Upper Midwest, where hail and high winds will once again be the main risks.
The heat is also fueling wildfire concerns.
About 3 million people are under Red Flag Warnings across the Four Corners region, where high winds combined with low humidity and hot temperatures will lead to a critical fire risk on Monday.
Over the weekend, the Pipeline Fire erupted north of Flagstaff Arizona prompting some evacuations on the north side of the city. Flagstaff is under a Red Flag Warning once again today where wind gusts up to 50 mph could hinder firefighting efforts or create new fires that could rapidly spread.