Residents of Arkansas are bracing for some of the hottest temperatures so far this summer.

The National Weather Service says high temperatures during the upcoming work week will rise to above normal levels for this time of year, with the hottest conditions expected near the end of the week and next weekend.

Forecasters say a ridge of high pressure will shift east across the Southern Plains during the week, setting up a typical mid-summer heat wave and creating hot and humid conditions in eastern Oklahoma as well as northwestern and east central Arkansas.

Temperatures near 100 degrees with heat index values ranging from 100 to around 108 degrees will be possible toward the end of the work week.

Isolated thunderstorms are likely with chances increasing late next weekend.

Pine Bluff’s forecast high for Thursday is 97 degrees, with heat indices rising well above 100. The heat index measures the amount of humidity in the air and is often referred to as the “feels like” temperature.

Safety precautions should be taken by those working outside during the heat of the day, including drinking plenty of water and wearing sun screen. Physicians advise taking frequent breaks and avoiding work in the direct sunlight.

The American Red Cross advises the following tips to stay safe as the mercury rises. Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Eat small meals and eat more often.

Avoid extreme temperature changes. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

Postpone outdoor games and activities. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

Postpone outdoor games and activities. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat. Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.