On Friday, 62 million people woke up under heat alerts. It is a tale of two heatwaves with a more humid one centered over the Southern Plains and Southeast and another very dry one building over the Rockies and Southwest.
Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas were all under excessive heat warnings as of Friday morning, while Atlanta was under a heat advisory.
While air temperatures were forecast to be about 10 degrees above average around Memphis and Little Rock, Arkansas, this heat combined with humidity will result in heat indices soaring to nearly 115 degrees.
Afternoon showers and thunderstorms stretching from Texas to Indiana may provide some brief relief from the heat Friday.
This weekend, temperatures will drop a couple of degrees in places like Tennessee and Arkansas before rebounding early next week. At the same time, high heat will surge into the northern Plains this weekend.
The Rockies and Southwest will feel the heat as well in the next few days. Phoenix and Las Vegas will both see highs over 110 degrees by Saturday, while Salt Lake City will be flirting with 100 Friday and Denver will be in the same spot come Sunday.
Austin, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston are cities that could set record highs this weekend.
This excessive western heat will continue and potentially worsen for some, going into next week.
As has been the case the majority of this first full week of July, the heat and humidity will fuel strong and severe thunderstorms.
On Friday, 7 million are in the risk zone for severe weather in the lower Ohio Valley and in Montana and the western Dakotas. Damaging winds will be the primary threat in the eastern risk area as large thunderstorm clusters move eastward throughout the day. In the northern Rockies and Plains, large hail and damaging wind gusts will be the main threat.
On Saturday, severe weather will be possible in the northern Rockies and Plains once again (Montana, North Dakota, and far western Minnesota) in the afternoon and evening hours. Large hail and damaging winds could accompany the storms that fire up there.
On Sunday, the focus for severe weather will move into the Upper Midwest where a cold front could cause storms that may produce large hail and damaging winds in the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota.
Rounds of locally heavy rain are also possible over the next two days from the Ohio River Valley into the Mid-Atlantic and parts of the Southeast. The heaviest rain is likely across east-central parts of North Carolina where up to 5 inches is possible.
Heavy rain is also possible in the Washington area Saturday with locally 1 to 2 inches of rain and some flooding possible.