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A historic heat wave in the United States is scorching the Midwest and Northeast, prompting safety precautions

Kids cool off at Gallagher Way park fountain (Via Jake Marsh/Shutterstock)

Intense heat covered large parts of the United States on Tuesday, affecting tens of millions of people and prompting measures to stay cool as summer begins with a scorching week ahead.

Warnings about extreme heat extended from Iowa through Ohio and into the northern parts of Michigan, leading to the cancellation of youth sports camps, nature walks, and local festivals. The National Weather Service warned that the dangerous heat wave would move across the country and reach Maine by at least Friday.

In Columbus, Ohio, an organization that supplies fresh produce to underserved areas prepared frozen towels for workers to prevent overheating and packed cold water to stay hydrated.

Monique McCoy, market manager for the Local Matters Veggie Van, emphasized the importance of staying hydrated: “Hydration is the key.”

In Toledo, Ohio, a weekly fitness event was canceled, and a nearby suburb called off a street fair as temperatures soared into the mid-90s. Concern for staff and volunteers prompted a food bank in upstate New York to cancel deliveries scheduled for Wednesday.

A kid cools off at a fountain (Via Tim Morrison/Getty Images)

In New York, schools canceled field trips to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse due to the heat. Zoo workers activated water misters for visitors, while animals like elephants received chunks of ice in their pools to cool off, according to Ted Fox, the zoo’s executive director.

Fox mentioned that most animals enjoy the ice, including tigers, who like to lick it and rest their heads on it in the heat.

Cities that opened cooling centers advised residents that some public libraries, senior centers, and pools would be closed on Wednesday for the Juneteenth holiday.

The heat wave, hitting just before summer officially begins, caught many off guard with its intensity.

Krista Voltolini, selling produce at a farmer’s market in Columbus, commented on the unusual heat: “This is hot for just moving into summer, so I’m hoping that we’re going to see the temperature cool down soon because this is a warm one.”

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