A slowly progressing heat wave is expected to hit the state this week with days of temperatures above 10 degrees.

High temperatures are expected to primarily impact the Western Slope today, before moving east on Thursday, raising temperatures across the Front Range and Eastern Plains.

The heat is expected to increase on Friday, especially in the Western Slope, Interstate 25 corridor and Eastern Plains, with temperatures reaching 105 degrees in Sterling, 104 in Grand Junction and 103 in Lamar, according to data from the National Weather Service.

The heat wave could send temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal July levels in many areas, setting new records in many areas. But Bernard Meier, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Boulder office, said the most disruptive and dangerous effects are likely to come from multiple days of soaring, unrelenting daytime temperatures that could last into Monday.

“A prolonged period of days with temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius is quite rare,” he said.

The heat wave is the result of a ridge of high pressure that has already battered the West Coast and other western states. The heat dome has broken temperature records across the West, pushing temperatures to 128 degrees in Death Valley National Park, where local authorities said a motorcyclist died after a tour group was overcome by heat exhaustion. The heat has also been linked to at least four deaths in Oregon.

High pressure systems are common in Colorado during the summer, but the heat dome moving through the region and state is expected to be unusually strong and slow, Meier said. One factor that could push temperatures higher in some areas is the lack of recent rainfall. Dry soil warms up faster, Meier said, further pushing up air temperatures.

Scientists say human-caused climate change is likely to make heat waves more frequent, more intense, longer lasting and slower.

Meier said the weather service is working with emergency responders and first responders. Heat is more dangerous for vulnerable groups — especially children, the elderly or those with medical conditions — who should take extra precautions.

According to Meier, the best way for Colorado residents to protect themselves from the heat is to stay indoors and avoid the heat if possible.

“If you’re normally working outside eight hours a day, take some precautions,” he said. “Drink a little more water, take more breaks in the shade. Just don’t be so rough with it.”