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50 million Americans are under a heat advisory and they should be cautious

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Millions of Americans are sweating. NPR's Sean Saldana reports.

SEAN SALDANA, BYLINE: A heat wave is dropping daily temperatures of around 90 degrees all over the country. Around 45 million Americans were under a heat advisory. Dr. Kate Evans is an atmospheric scientist who develops weather models.

KATE EVANS: You do get more deaths from heat-wave extreme events than any other extreme weather event that we get. It may not be a hurricane. It may not be a tornado. But it still kills those who are not able to protect themselves.

SALDANA: Young children, the elderly, those with medical conditions and people who work outside are at most risk. And Evans says that a proper response to the heat requires a careful analysis of people's needs. Animals can also die from the heat. In Kansas, at least 2,000 cattle died from extreme temperature changes earlier this month.

SCARLETT HAGINS: What they saw was a rapid spike in temperature and humidity, and they basically had no wind. The temperatures didn't cool down below 70 degrees overnight. And so if you add all that together, it really created the perfect storm for heat-stress issues in cattle.

SALDANA: That's Scarlett Hagins, spokeswoman of the Kansas Livestock Association. And she says that for ranchers, the loss is both economic and emotional.

HAGINS: These producers put a lot of care into these animals, and they don't ever want to lose one. These animals were ready to go to a processor to be converted into beef. And so they probably weighed, on average, about 1,500 pounds and, considering the market at that time, were probably worth about $2,000 a head.

SALDANA: In many places over the next few weeks, the heat is expected to break. But until then, stay hydrated. Sean Saldana, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.