Intense heat continued to suffocate the South and other parts of the U.S. on Thursday, where 19 states are under heat advisories - and seven of those also are under excessive heat warnings.
The advisories stretch from Texas to New York City. The heat index, which is what the body perceives the temperature to be, is expected to reach 115° F again Thursday in some locations, with actual temperatures soaring into the triple digits.
A combination of sweltering temperatures and high humidity could cause heat-related illnesses, the National Weather Service said.
Record high temperatures from Wednesday include:
- Hot Springs, Arkansas: 108 degrees
- Pine Bluff, Arkansas: 107 degrees
- Greenwood, Mississippi: 104 degrees
- Memphis, Tennessee: 104 degrees
The Northeast will have a brief episode of heat Thursday, when some areas could see temperatures 10 degrees above the average for this time of year, but highs are expected to drop back into the upper 80s for the weekend. The extreme heat and humidity could stick around this weekend in the South, however.
The number of suspected heat-related deaths reported by health officials across the South and Midwest in the past week reached at least nine Wednesday as temperatures continued to hit triple digits. Those at greater risk include infants and young children, people 65 or older, and those who are already ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
The health department of Kansas City, Missouri, said Wednesday that the Jackson County medical examiner was investigating the city's fourth suspected heat-related death since Friday. CNN affiliate KSHB reported that a Wichita man died Monday while attending the Van's Warped Tour concert at Sandstone Ampitheater. Authorities haven't said how 26-year-old Curtis A. DeForest died.
In Tennessee, Shelby County Medical Examiner Karen E. Chancellor said a 77-year-old man was found dead Tuesday evening in his Memphis home. His death was from natural causes, but heat was a contributing factor. In Bartlett, Tennessee, CNN affiliate WMC reported that a 66-year-old man collapsed in his yard Friday while mowing the lawn. He died from chronic illnesses, but heat exposure was ruled to be a contributing factor.
WMC reported that Memphis has also opened four cooling centers to help people avoid the dangerous heat.
"We're doing it all over the city, going door-to-door to make sure people are aware of resources and that they don't have to be hot," Alvin Benson, director of Fire Services for the city of Memphis, told WMC. "There are cooling centers in the city, and there is air conditioning available."
In Mississippi, a 48-year-old Gulfport man died of heat exposure Monday, according to the county coroner.
The man was working on road construction and "had cramped in the upper extremities," said Jackson County, Mississippi, Coroner Vicki Broadus. "It was his first day on the job as a concrete smoother."
And an 81-year-old Monroe County, Mississippi, woman also died of heat stroke on Saturday, said county Coroner Alan Gurley.
The Alabama Department of Health said one man died of heat exposure last week. No other information was available.
The record heat also contributed to the death of a dog after an Austin man left his pet in his car while he shopped in an electronics store, CNN affiliate KXAN in Austin, Texas, reported. Christopher Richard Schmitt, 25, was charged with cruelty to a nonlivestock animal, a state felony punishable by up to two years in jail, for the death of his 2-year-old Weimaraner.