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Dangerous heat to scorch central US on Fourth of July; severe weather in Southeast

As the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches, we likely are entering the hottest few days this year beginning Thursday.

Extreme heat and humidity will be a major story the rest of the week into the holiday weekend.

Heat advisories are in effect Thursday across the central and southern Plains, where the heat index will be between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

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But widespread heat is anticipated across the country.

Heat advisories stretch across the Central and Southern Plains on Thursday.

Heat advisories stretch across the Central and Southern Plains on Thursday.
(Fox News)

Temperatures will reach the middle 90s from Denver to Dallas to New Orleans, and the lower 90s from Minneapolis to Chicago to New York City and south to Tampa.

Dangerous heat is forecast on Thursday across much of the nation's midsection.

Dangerous heat is forecast on Thursday across much of the nation’s midsection.
(Fox News)

Vulnerable groups should avoid being outside during peak heat in the late afternoon and early evening.

Dangerous heat will stick around on Friday.

Dangerous heat will stick around on Friday.
(Fox News)

Severe weather threat from central Plains to Southeast

Hot weather reigns across much of the nation's midsection on Thursday.

Hot weather reigns across much of the nation’s midsection on Thursday.

A few strong storms from the central Plains to the Southeast are possible late Thursday.

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The main concerns with this system are large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

One last day of Saharan dust

The Saharan dust layer lingers for one last day on Friday from an area across Texas and Louisiana.

The Saharan dust layer lingers for one last day on Friday from an area across Texas and Louisiana.
(Fox News)

The Saharan dust layer lingers for one last day Friday across Texas and Louisiana. While not as thick as in previous days, the dust will still create hazy conditions.

Elevated fire risk out West

A weather pattern out west will lead to gusty winds and low humidity in the Central Great Basin from Thursday and into Friday.

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An elevated fire risk is expected in parts of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

In California, fire crews were able to stop the progress of a blaze that burned some 3,500 acres as of Thursday morning.

The Bena Fire burning east of Bakersfield began around 3 p.m. on Wednesday and grew rapidly, according to KGET-TV.

Kern County Fire officials said on Twitter that crews were working through the night to reach preliminary containment.

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No evacuation orders are currently in place, fire officials said late Wednesday.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.



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