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Video: Extreme heat settles over East Coast

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    >>> here in new york , it arrived. the heat wave that tormented the country this week settled over the east coast . if anything, it has gotten worse. it was 108 degrees in newark, new jersey, today, an all time record for that city. and extreme temperatures are scattered across the map. add the extreme humidity for the heat index and you can see how hot it felt out there. nbc's anne thompson joins us now from times square with more. anne?

    >> reporter: good evening, lester. this heat is tough on people and power companies. in new york city , there are scattered power outages tonight affecting some 8,400 residents. another 158,000 people are dealing with reduced voltage. and over in new jersey, there are rolling blackouts , but so far, no catastrophes. today, miserable is spelled n-y-c. temperatures that rivalled the sa hartia desert and humidity reminiscent of the gulf coast combined to turn new york into a grimy sauna.

    >> it is fire.

    >> reporter: the heat relentless. before dawn , it was already 85 degrees. 90 by the end of rush hour. at noon, it hit the century mark, and set a new record at 104 an hour and a half later. the water was the best place to be. the columbus circle fountain worked for those with two legs and four. but a raw sewage spill in the hudson river closed the waters around manhattan to swimmers and kayakers, and the city warned fishermen not to eat what they catch.

    >> if you catch fish in the hudson, don't eat it now. you can fish them, but throw them back.

    >> reporter: bike messenger fernando rivera can dodge new york city 's traffic, but not the heat. triple digit temperatures reflecting off the pavement and mouthfuls of pollution made his job even more dangerous.

    >> i just want to pick up the bicycle and get on the subway and go home.

    >> reporter: at west point, a suspected heat-related tragedy, military officials say 18-year-old jacob bower, a cadet and three-sport athlete, died during a training exercise thursday evening. the record temperatures led to record demand for power in new york city . con ed left voice mails asking customers to conserve.

    >> turn off noncritical electric equipment like televisions, computers, microwaves, washers, dryers and air conditioners .

    >> reporter: but at the nation's largest independent grid operator, today demand went down, even though its coverage area includes the sweltering mid-atlantic. call it the friday factor.

    >> you see a lot of people leave work early. because of that, the buildings have less occupancy and the air conditioners are not working as hard.

    >> reporter: a midmorning storm in chicago pelted the city with more than a half inch of rain in just four minutes. while in heat-ravaged pittsburgh, air conditioned buses provided a cool respite for firefighters battling a morning blaze.

    >> the clothes are a double-edged sword. they're designed to protect us from burns but they don't allow our body heat to dissipate.

    >> reporter: whether you're a firefighter in pittsburgh or a tourist here in times square , the key word is hydrate, because in weather like this, water can save your life. lester?

    >> anne thompson in steamy new york tonight, thanks.

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Photos: Heat wave across the US

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  1. James Maxim of Lunenburg, Mass., soaks in the cooling water of the Saco River in Limington, Maine, on Friday, July 22. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Bikers cool off at the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America rally in Bloomsburg, Pa., on July 22. (Jimmy May / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Orient Billie cools off with a fan at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., on July 22. (Mike Lawrence / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Susan Fernandez, of Lawrence, Mass., enjoys the spray of a hydrant opened by the city's public works on July 22. (Elise Amendola / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A customer wipes sweat off his forehead after purchasing an air conditioner at a store in New York City on July 22. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Children at a summer camp in Andover, Mass. throw snowballs and play on a pile of ice shavings delivered from an area hockey rink on July 22. (Elise Amendola / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A fire truck in Linden, Mich., provided this entertainment on Thursday, July 21. (Ryan Garza / The Flint Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Vanity Mendez, 11, left, Isaiah Rivera, 6, center, and Jonathan Medina, 11, cool off at an open fire hydrant in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan on Thursday. A heatwave that has enveloped much of the central part of the country for the past couple of weeks is moving east and temperatures are expected to top the 100-degree mark. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. William Dyer, Jr., of Gortham, Maine stays cool seated on his beach chair waist-deep in Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, on Thursday. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Nathan Pakozdi, 9, tends to his family's hogs as they cool off beneath a pair of fans at the Warren County Fair in Lebanon, Ohio, on Thursday. Farmers and other animal keepers are toiling away to keep creatures cool during the hot weather sweeping much of the country. (Al Behrman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Virginia Carol Thompson, 70, panhandles at the intersection of West Reno and Klein in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Thursday. Thompson said when it gets too hot, she stays under the bridge where she sleeps at night. Temperatures in Oklahoma City have exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days straight. (Brett Deering / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Paving supervisor John Recupero enjoys a piece of watermelon with his crew, as they wait for an additional asphalt truck with temperatures soaring near 100 degrees in Westborough, Mass., on Thursday. (Christine Peterson / Worcester Telegram and Gazette via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Civil War reenactors sleep in the shade on a blistering hot day at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia on Thursday as they mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas/Bull Run, the first major battle of the Civil War. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Swimmers look on as one of the 250 bags of ice is dumped into the Franklin Memorial Swimming Pool in Franklin, Ind., on Thursday. Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 90s with heat index well over 100. (Darron Cummings / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Jay Kennedy organizes fans donated by Comcast-Spectacor to be distributed to seniors at the Philadelphia Senior Center Thursday in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Rick Vermeulen cools off with a drink from his water cooler, taking a break from the 95 degree heat on Thursday in Bay City, Mich. Vermeulen and his crew from ATT were working on building a new manhole on Midland Street. (Michael Randolph / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Nasier Wright, 4, sits on a basketball near cups of lemonade on the courtyard at the Pennington Court apartments on Thursday in Newark, N.J. Residents of the 223-unit public housing complex gathered outdoors as temperatures neared the 100-degree mark. (Julio Cortez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Olivia Provis, 6, stands still to have sweat wiped off her forehead by her mother, Angela Provis, right, as they shield themselves from the afternoon sun while waiting for a bus on Thursday in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. DTE Energy employees unload bags of ice at the Gerry Kulick Community Center in Ferndale, Mich. on Thursday where a cooling center was set up for those affected by power outages. (Carlos Osorio / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A very hot and thirsty dog named Buck cools off drinking bottled water poured by his owner Sue Anderson of South Windsor, Conn., during a legion baseball game at the peak of the heat Wednesday afternoon, July 20. A lengthy, blistering heat wave is blanketing the eastern half of the United States. (Jim Michaud / Journal Inquirer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Nine-year old Adrienne Curtis douses herself with buckets of cold water on Wednesday afternoon in Peoria, Ill. (Ron Johnson / Peoria Journal Star via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Leena Allen cools off by standing in front of a misting fan during a visit to the Saint Louis Zoo on Wednesday in St. Louis. Much of the United States is trapped under a heat "dome" caused by a huge area of high pressure that's compressing hot, moist air beneath it, leading to miserable temperatures. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. As temperatures hit triple digits, a zoo keeper at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., cools off a Double Yellow Headed Amazon parrot with water spray, Wednesday. (Nati Harnik / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Bathers beat the midday heat at the Devil's Pool in Wissahickon Valley Park on Wednesday in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Jayson Hamler, 7, plays in some water outside a school on Wednesday in Milwaukee. Workers and residents in the city are contending with highest temperatures of the summer season as a prolonged stretch of hot, humid weather takes hold on the upper midwest region of the United States. (Morry Gash / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Vincenzo Vitalb cools off before a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in Chicago. The afternoon heat index exceeded 100 degrees in the area. (Nam Y. Huh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Head athletic trainer Eric Claas, left, applies a cold towel to sophomore Cuong Nguyn during a morning football practice at Father Ryan High School on Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn. With the summer heating up, schools are trying to keep their student-athletes off the field during the hottest parts of the day by rescheduling practices and scrimmages for early in the morning or in the evening. (Mark Humphrey / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Christian Rhodes substitutes a water balloon for a baseball as he and his youth baseball team try to beat the heat during a practice at Brandenstein Park in Watertown, Wis. on Tuesday, July 19. (Adam Tobias / The Watertown Daily Times via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Jonathan Decker, right, from Hot Springs, Ark., and Charlie Woolsey, from Harrison, Ark., tear a roof off a tornado-damaged home as the sun dips low in the sky on Tuesday in Joplin, Mo. Despite a recent heat wave, crews continue to clean up and rebuild nearly two months after an EF-5 tornado destroyed much of Joplin. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. John C. Anderson, of Silvis, Ill., takes a big drink of water next to a sculpture of the Blues Brothers after riding his bike from Silvis to downtown Rock Island, Ill. Tuesday. Anderson rode the approximately 10-miles to Rock Island to perform a couple of heat wave related songs for the downtown lunch-time crowd. (Todd Mizener / The Dispatch via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Luke McCrory, 5, from Coopersville, cools off in front of a giant fan at the Berlin Fair in Marne, Mich., on Tuesday. (Cory Morse / The Grand Rapids Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Leon Buys is doused in water while taking a break from midway set-up chores at the Dane County Fair in Madison, Wis. Tuesday. Workers and residents in the city are contending with highest temperatures of the summer season as a prolonged stretch of hot, humid weather takes hold on the upper midwest region of the United States. (John Hart / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Five-year-old Dam young Kim, of Korea, makes hand prints in the condensation on one of the windows of a State Capitol doorway while waiting to leave the building with her family, Tuesday, in St. Paul, Minn. The foreign visitors were able to see the Capitol when Gov. Mark Dayton ordered it opened to the public after being closed for 18 days during the state's shutdown. Dew points reached a state record 83 percent and the heat index hit 119 degrees in Minneapolis and St. Paul. (Tom Olmscheid / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A man soaks his feet in a fountain while reading a magazine on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on a warm summer afternoon in Boston, Massachusetts Tuesday. (Brian Snyder / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. In Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the heat index made it feel like 126 degrees on Monday, July 18, locals are also dealing with potential flooding from the Missouri River. Here volunteers fill sand bags on Tuesday. (Nati Harnik / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Participants in Drums Across America, a competition featuring eight elite drum and bugle corps from around the country, take a water break Monday, July 18, near Wichita, Kan., during practice. Temperatures rose above 100 degrees across the state. (Mike Hutmacher / The Wichita Eagle via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Walter Gatewood, 87, sits on his front porch trying to beat the heat in Flint, Mich., Monday. A heat wave smothered the Midwest with temperatures over 100 degrees. (Paul Sancya / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. A child cools off in mist at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. on Monday. (Nati Harnik / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A sun worshipper floats down Sunset River at Knott's Soak City Water Park in Buena Park, Ca. as temperatures around the county soared Monday. (H. Lorren Au Jr. / Orange County Register via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Malee, a three-month old Asian elephant, cools off with a spray of water in her wading pool at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Monday. (Sue Ogrocki / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Lillie Walker, 90, accepts bottles of cold water from Bob Sidwell, the City of Jennings housing, streets and parks director, as he checks on the elderly during a heat wave Monday, in Jennings, Mo. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Emergency personnel assist a woman after she was overcome by heat during the graveside service for Terre Haute Police Department Officer Brent Long in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday. (Darron Cummings / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Jazia Pratt, 8, fills a bucket with water from a fire hydrant in the afternoon summer heat Monday, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 22: Romona Johnson (L) plays in a fountain at the Inner Harbor with her children Japrea Parker, 12, (C) and Janae Parker, 9, (R) on July 22, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. A large heatwave has been crossing the United States and is causing extreme summer temperatures. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) (Rob Carr / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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