A heat wave with record-breaking potential gripped the southeastern United States on Monday, while the Central Plains will get a respite from the deadly weather that has pounded and flooded the region since last week, forecasters said.

But the conditions for violent weather that spawned numerous tornadoes and drenching rains that prompted several riverfront evacuations will return in the coming week, they said. A tornado in Oklahoma killed two people on Saturday.

As Americans celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said 14 cities in South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida could tie or top their previous high temperatures for this date in a hot spell that could remain in place through the week.