NEW YORK (AP) -- Temperatures soared toward 100 degrees or more today along much of the East Coast, sending utilities into peak operation as air conditioners strained to cool the sweating masses and sending the unlucky into cooling centers -- or anywhere else they could beat the heat.
After an extended Fourth of July weekend when temperatures inched into at least the 90s from Maine to Texas, The National Weather Service issued heat advisories until 11 p.m. Wednesday for much of the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and parts of Michigan and Kentucky. Wednesday was forecast to be the most humid day of the stretch.
The heat was expected to put a heavy load on the power grid. New York could break a record for electricity use set on Aug. 2, 2006, Consolidated Edison spokesman Bob McGee said. Utility workers in New York and Westchester County were working 12-hour shifts because of the increased demand.
In Philadelphia, the increased load from the heat blew fuses at transformers run by the Peco utility, said spokeswoman Karen Muldoon Geus. About 1,900 customers were without power Tuesday morning, down from about 8,000 Monday.
In the East, warm air is "sitting over the top of us, and it's not really going to budge much for the next day or two," said Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Camp Springs, Md. After that, he said, a system coming in off the Atlantic Ocean would bring in cooler temperatures.
Korty stressed that the danger from increasing temperatures was likely to grow.
"As the temperature and humidity both get higher, the stress it can put on the human body increases," he said, "and therefore the higher the temperature and higher the humidity, the greater the chance of people having problems."