Sweltering heat descends on Midwest, pushing temperatures to dangerous levels

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More than 100 million people from the Upper Midwest down to the Gulf Coast are under heat alerts Tuesday, as a brutal heat wave grips a huge swath of the central United States.

Heat index values, or the “feels like” temperatures when humidity and air temperatures are combined, are expected to soar well into the triple digits across Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and other parts of the Midwest, as well as further south in Texas and Louisiana.

Chicago, for instance, could see heat index values reach 111 degrees Fahrenheit this week, while in Houston they could peak at 113 F.

The heat wave is due to a “heat dome,” a high-pressure ridge that remains parked over the central U.S., trapping hot air over the region and funneling moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.