Dangerous heat wave blazes across large parts of Plains, South

A cold front could bring relief to some places Wednesday, but that could also cause heavy rain and flooding in the Great Lakes region, forecasters said.

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By Phil Helsel

A dangerous heat wave has sent temperatures soaring across more than a dozen states, and the 100-degree temperatures aren't even the worst of it. The humidity will make it feel like 115 some places.

The southern Plains, lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast will continue to bake this week and see temperatures in the upper 90s and low-100-degree range.

"It feels like hell is what it feels like," Junae Brooks, who runs Junae's Grocery in Holly Bluff, Mississippi, told the Associated Press.

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In Holly Bluff, north of Vicksburg, the temperature was expected to climb to 97 degrees Tuesday.

Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings covered a swath of the nation from central Texas and southern Oklahoma and into parts of Georgia on Monday night, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 50 million people were under heat advisories early Tuesday, and another 16 million were under excessive heat warnings, including in parts of southeastern California and southern Arizona, according to weather service estimates.

In Dallas, which is expected to record its fifth consecutive triple-digit day with a high of 103 on Tuesday, utility companies have asked people to limit their electric use Tuesday afternoon, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. Houston is also bracing for a 100-degree day.

Little Rock, Arkansas, has forecast highs of 98 degrees for Tuesday and 91 degrees through Friday, and is under an excessive heat warning through 8 p.m. Tuesday. Heat indices — what the temperature will feel like with humidity factored in — could reach 115 degrees in the region, the weather service said.

Montgomery, Alabama, will climb to 98 degrees on Tuesday and 93 Friday, but heat indices Tuesday afternoon could reach 115 degrees, according to the weather service. Atlanta won't escape the swelter and is expected to feel as hot as 103 on Tuesday.

High heat can be deadly, especially for older adults, the very young and people with chronic conditions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns on its website.

A heat wave that struck large parts of the nation in June was blamed in at least three deaths, including former New York Giants offensive lineman and Super Bowl winner Mitch Petrus, 32, who died in Arkansas of heat stroke, officials said at that time.

By Wednesday a cold front will bring some relief to the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley, and to the Southeast by Thursday, forecasters said. But that front could also bring heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding and other severe weather from the lower Great Lakes, across the Mid-Atlantic region and into the Southeast, the weather service said.