With summer in full swing and heat dominating a large swath of the nation in the days leading up to Independence Day, residents will have to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, elderly, children and pets against heat-related illnesses or fatalities.

Sunday is expected to bring another day of widespread temperatures approaching or exceeding 100 degrees across the central and southern United States during the late morning and afternoon hours.

While Phoenix is no stranger to heat in early July, the city will be hotter than normal as temperatures soar to 110.

Temperatures may be trimmed a few degrees back to more typical values around Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday, but heat will worsen in the Southeast.

The number of communities enduring highs in the upper 90s and lower 100s will increase from northern Florida to North Carolina, away from the beaches, these days.

Augusta, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., are among the cities where record highs are in jeopardy.

"Many areas in the Deep South will see very little reprieve from the heat during the overnight hours as well," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham. "Temperatures will only drop into the upper 70s and lower 80s in most areas."

Temperature readings rising into the 90s daily through the holiday will put a strain on anyone around Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Chicago.

Even where actual temperatures only top out at around 80 degrees throughout the nation, sealed vehicles sitting out in the strong sun can quickly become death traps for children, pets and others without means to open doors.

"As temperatures soar this week, be sure to check up on individuals who are more vulnerable to heat-induced illnesses," Buckingham said. "When temperatures exceed the 100-degree mark, heat-related issues can occur faster than one may expect."

Amid sweltering heat, drink plenty of water, wear light clothing and avoid strenuous activities during the hottest times of the day -- the midday and afternoon hours.

"Our furry friends are not immune to the heat either, so be sure to tend to your pets," Buckingham added. "Make sure they have plenty of water and if they have to be left outside, try to provide at least a shaded area for them to lay under."

Potential dangers include dehydration, heat stroke, sun stroke and muscle cramps. With hot temperatures of 90 to 100 degrees, caution is advised, and very young and elderly should participate in minimal activity. With very hot temperatures of 101 to 107, very young and elderly should minimize activity. And with dangerous heat of 108 to 115, minimize outdoor activity and hydrate regularly.
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