Extreme heat in Southeast Michigan next week with indices over 100 degrees

It's about to get hot in metro Detroit - really hot. For some, temperatures could even peak in the triple digits next week as a heat wave blankets the region in the warmest conditions of the year.

Summer doesn't officially start until June 21, but Southeast Michigan is expected to spend potentially four days with a heat index over a hundred degrees.

Extreme heat is among the most hazardous kinds of severe weather because of the stress it puts on the body. It's also a contributing factor in the formation of ground-level ozone, a harmful air pollutant that can cause breathing problems for sensitive groups. 

It's not just the high temperatures that are extreme; next weeks low temperatures will only drop as far as the 70s. When conditions don't cool off enough, it robs the body of valuable respite ahead of more heat.

The National Weather Services' warning for next week's heat wave.

The National Weather Service is warning Wednesday will be the worst with all of Southeast Michigan experiencing extreme heat-related impacts. Anyone lacking proper cooling should spend time in one of the area's cooling centers for relief. 

Putting the heat wave into perspective, the last time four consecutive days recorded at least 95 degrees was July 1-4 in 2002. The most recent five-day period with 95+ degrees is July 5-9, in 1944.

There has never been a four-day stretch of those conditions in June.  

Southeast Michigan forecast

  • Monday - Mostly sunny and hot with a high near 100 
  • Tuesday - Mostly sunny and hot with a high near 97
  • Wednesday - Partly sunny and hot with a high near 96 
  • Thursday - Mostly sunny and hot with a high near 94 
  • Friday - Cloudy and hot with high near 98 degrees

Why is heat so dangerous?

It may not look as deadly as a thunderstorm, but heat is the biggest weather-related killer.

With high temperatures comes a risk of exhaustion, strokes, headaches, nausea, and other medical emergencies. Once the body reaches a certain threshold, it can even cause organs to shut down. 

"We think of tornadoes and hurricanes, but heat actually has more mortality and morbidity, it's insidious," said Prof. Carina Gronlund. She called heat "sneaky" because heat isn't labeled as the reason for the increase in emergency calls or deaths that happen during high temperatures. 

That's because heat exacerbates preexisting medical problems that range from respiratory to cardiovascular issues. Part of the reason is when the body works to cool the body, it can become dehydrated, which can put a strain on parts of the body like the kidneys.

It's of particular concern in Detroit due to the underlying health issues that many suffer from. 

Gronlund authored a study that evaluated how major U.S. cities would be impacted if they lost power during a blackout event while high temperatures were present. During a 5-day heat wave with no power, Detroit's mortality would more than double during events of high temperatures, the study found.

The study also found Detroit is uniquely unprepared for high temperature events even if power is still operating in the city. That's because so many homes lack air conditioning. The authors estimate at least 100 people would die.

Cooling centers

For those that don't have proper cooling in their home, next week will be tough.

Those unable to handle the spiking temperatures should seek relief at one of the various cooling centers that will be open around the region.

For different locations in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, find a list here.


Metro Detroit cooling centers: Where to stay cool during heat wave

With a stretch of 90-degree days coming, cooling centers are open around Metro Detroit.