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America sizzles as heat wave hits East Coast

America is sizzling with temperatures breaking records in atleast four cities as the season's first heat wave swept across much of the East Coast reminding Indians of summer back home.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 11:47 IST

America is sizzling with temperatures breaking records in atleast four cities as the season's first heat wave swept across much of the East Coast reminding Indians of summer back home.

New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Providence, Rhode Island, broke records on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

In New York's Central Park, it was 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.44 C) at 4.45 p.m., topping the previous high of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.33 C) in 1999. Baltimore Washington International Airport hit a sizzling 105 (40.55 C)degrees.

Temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.77 C) in many other places, with the weatherman warning of the heat wave continuing through Wednesday night for most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as south-western Michigan and eastern Kentucky.

Power cuts in Connecticut, rail service disruptions in Washington and warnings to conserve electricity in New York City marked the second day of the Northeast heat wave.

In the national capital of Washington, temperatures crossed into triple digits by noon on Tuesday reaching 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.33 C) at Reagan National Airport.

The sizzling weather has fallen a few degrees short of all-time record highs in the capital region. The temperature has crossed the 100-degree mark (37.77 C) six times in the last decade. The record for Tuesday was set in 1999, according to AccuWeather: a crispy 103 (39.44 C) degrees Fahrenheit.

New York City and Washington opened air-conditioned cooling centres at libraries, senior centres and city-owned buildings where people could find relief.

City officials are on high alert, given past heat-related tragedies. New York reported 40 heat-stroke deaths during an especially aggressive heat wave in 2006. More than 650 people died in the Chicago heat wave of 1995; many were elderly people who lived alone.

The heat was straining utility providers, and had other agencies preparing for the worst. On Monday, 8,000 of the 1.6 million customers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lost power due to increased demand.

Amtrak is storing extra water on trains and positioning rescue locomotives every 30 to 50 miles along its busy Northeast corridor.

The heat wave claimed at least one life. A 92-year-old woman, who did not have air conditioning, was found dead in her home in Philadelphia, CNN said citing the medical examiner's office.