Paige Rose, 12 years-old, and her mother, Cindy Rose, of St. Louis, MO, take shade under an umbrella while they dip their feet in the fountain in the center of the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington on July 26, 2005. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Wire Service Content

A heat wave is expected for much of the eastern half of the US in the coming days—and it has the potential to be deadly.

More than 130 million Americans are under a heat watch, warning or advisory, with the heat index expected to reach 115 degrees in some areas. The widespread heatwave will hit its peak Friday and Saturday with dozens of records possible.

It is the kind of heat that caused a road to buckle in Oklahoma and has led the city of Chicago to open cooling centers, slow trains to relieve heat stress on the tracks and put police on alert for air conditioning theft.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation@OKDOT

HEAT DAMAGE: SB SH-18 is narrowed near I-40 in Shawnee due to heat-related pavement damage.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Warning – extreme heat affecting roads.

New York, Boston, Washington DC, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Little Rock are among the cities that will experience the unusually hot weather.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that high temperatures can lead to illnesses ranging in severity from heat rash and sunburn, to heat cramps and exhaustion, to heatstroke.

Track The Extreme Heat

To help people prepare, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies put out a guidebook Tuesday on how to stay safe when the temperatures reach those sweltering levels.

What to Do?

The good news: Heat waves are fairly predictable, the organization said. Because periods of hot weather can be tracked, staying up-to-date on the forecasts is the first step in fighting heat-related dangers.

When the hot weather does arrive, the guidebook has a simple message: “Stay in the shade, and hydrated.”

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