07/09/2012 12:17 pm ET

Extreme Weather Of The Week (PHOTOS)

The first week of July saw extreme weather hit across much of the country, with a heat wave, drought and severe wildfires all leaving their mark. High temperatures in the past week have shattered many records, with 262 daily high records tied or broken nationwide on July 4. According to the Associated Press, at least 46 deaths across the U.S. can be blamed on the recent heat.

Fortunately, a cold front will lower temperatures from the Midwest to the East Coast. AP reports that temperatures in many areas will remain in the mid- to upper-80s, however.

Along with the heat, dry and drought conditions exist in much of the U.S. A report released last week found that "just under 56 percent of the contiguous United States is in drought conditions," reported LiveScience. This marks the most extensive drought area since records began 12 years ago. Michael Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in a statement, "The recent heat and dryness is catching up with us on a national scale."

In the Western U.S., wildfires continue to burn across several states. Yet changes in temperature and winds allowed fire crews to control fires in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. A wildfire in southern Idaho has already scorched about 125 square miles, with winds blocking firefighters from making significant progress.

Below, check out images of extreme weather around the world from the first week of July.

Extreme Weather Of The Week