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Nearly 200 million people in the U.S. are under some form of heat advisory

Advisories have been issued in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon
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Extreme heat continued to grip much of the U.S. on Thursday, with parts of the country facing the prospect of triple-digit temperatures and nearly 200 million people across 34 states under some kind of heat-related advisory.

In the mid-Atlantic, the Northeast and New England, baking temperatures and exceptionally high humidity Thursday are forecast to make temperatures in the 90s feel upward of 100 degrees in major cities like Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

New York City and parts of New Jersey are under an excessive heat warning as the heat index, which is what the temperature feels like when humidity and air temperature are combined, is expected to reach 102 degrees Thursday — a rare occurrence in August. The last excessive heat warning in August in the tri-state area was in 2016. Most heat advisories are issued in June and July.

In the nation's capital, the heat index is forecast to reach 105 degrees. And in Philadelphia, it is expected to feel like 106 degrees.

A string of heat advisories also hit the center of the country from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, with heat indexes reaching as high as 115 degrees. Major cities, including Chicago; St. Louis; Nashville, Tennessee; and Houston, could all experience dangerous heat the rest of the week.

Extreme temperatures in the Midwest and the Great Lakes on Wednesday evening fueled the risk of severe thunderstorms and produced damaging winds of 40 mph to 55 mph, with pockets of gusts up to 80 mph. Widespread winds caused major power outages in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Across the Pacific Northwest, which just had its hottest June and July on record, temperatures are expected to break records. Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Spokane, Washington, are all projected to hit triple digits, according to the latest forecast.

The baking temperatures came the same week Europe may have recorded its hottest day ever, at 120 degrees, in Sicily, Italy.

Extreme heat this year continues to help fuel more than 100 wildfires across more than a dozen states, which have been aggravated by climate change.

California's Dixie Fire, the largest active fire in the country and the second-largest in California history, clocked in at over half a million acres. It was only 30 percent contained Thursday.

For regions under some kind of heat advisory, the National Weather Service tweeted a bleak reminder: "Yes, it's summer, but this type of heat can kill. Avoid strenuous activity during the midday, and bring along extra hydration, even if just going about normal business."