A DANGEROUS heatwave has started hitting the US this weekend with scorching highs of 112F.
An estimated 280 million people are about to experience temperatures at or above 90F (32C) in northern states like New York and Illinois.
However, 75 million Americans on the East Coast will experience desert temperatures in the triple digits.
Phoenix, AZ, hit 112F (44C) on Saturday, the highest in the US.
The heat will remain from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia and New York through to mid next week and is expected to affect 87 per cent of Americans.
National Weather Service data shows that "excessive heat warnings" are in place in several cities in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.
In the Northeast, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland ranked among those with extreme heat this weekend.
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio were given regular heat advisories.
Nearby New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut were regular heat advisories.
In the West, excessive heat advisories were issued for Arizona, while other nearby locations remained hot.
While temperatures in the Northeast expected to cool off by mid-week, other places could experience the 'oppressive' heat wave for several days.
However, excessive heat warnings in the Midwest are set to end by Sunday and temperatures will begin to cool off by mid-week.
Some areas may experience heat indexes near 115 degrees due to "corn sweat", when agriculture, like corn, adds humidity to the air.
PARKS AND BEACHES FORCED SHUT
Local authorities across the US are closing beaches and parks to stop people gathering in crowds and worsening the spread of coronavirus.
Beaches and state parks were forced to close because of the incredibly high temperatures and massive crowds flocking to the water in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
As many as 20 beach areas and state parks around New York had been closed having reached capacity so far, according to Fox News.
Robert Moses State Park on Long Island had reached capacity by 9.40 am Saturday and officials had to divert any further visitors on to Heckscher State Park.
The state's parks and beaches have already been limited to 50 per cent capacity as a result of the coronavirus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged residents to prepare for the sweltering heat and high temperatures, particularly if they are vulnerable.
Cuomo wrote: "Forecasts are calling for a wave of extreme heat in the coming days and I am urging all New Yorkers to make sure they are taking all necessary precautions.
"This type of weather can be especially dangerous for young children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions."
In New Jersey, at least six state parks had closed by Saturday afternoon, including Ramapo Mountain State Forest and Island Beach State Park.
Rhode Island locals called on visitors from Massachusetts and Connecticut to stay away because of the coronavirus threat.
Mike Healey of the Rhode Island Department of Emergency Management, told WCVB: "We are basically saying to folks … ordinarily (we) would love to have you come visit our beaches, but with COVID-19 and with crowding, it is just not a good idea."
Local health officials in Sioux Falls, SD, have urged residents to stay safe and hydrated during the heat wave.
Kevin Handke, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, told KTIV: "If you have someone that's been affected by the heat before, they are going to be affected quicker."
He added that although heat cramps and heat exhaustion are both serious conditions, only heat stroke needs medical attention.
"When it gets to that point its actually a true emergency for us because we can have our temperatures go up to 104 -105 which starts doing damage to the brain, and could also cause us to have a seizure." Handke said.
Most states are expected to lift their excessive heatwave warnings over the next few days.
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