TODAY

TODAY   |  July 18, 2013

Forecast: 90 degrees or above in 47 states

Nearly every state in the U.S. is forecasted to experience temperatures in the 90s or above, as doctors issue warnings about heat stroke. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports and TODAY’s Al Roker gives the forecast.

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>> we're going to get right to nbc's peter alexander . he is sweating it out this morning in bethesda, maryland. peter, good morning to you.

>> reporter: savannah, good morning to you. the pool looks pretty good, doesn't it? this is beginning to sound like a broken record. the high temperature today in washington, 96 degrees. with the humidity, that heat index is going to feel more like 104. take a look at the map, almost entirely in the red today. 47 states will be at or above 90 degrees for their high, and this extended heat streak isn't just uncomfortable, it's also dangerous. after days of punishing heat in the nation's capital, doctors at med-star washington hospital center are starting to see heat stroke patients.

>> those who cannot protect themselves from the heat, like the very young or the very old. those are the people who are the most common victims of heat.

>> reporter: the scorching temps taking their toll on amtrak too, disrupting service along the northeast corridor . good news in prince georges county , maryland, where more than 100,000 people thought they'd be without water through the weekend. crews now say they can fix a water main without turning off the tap. gale ward wasn't taking any chances, having already filled up a bathtub, pots, and a few storage bins just to be safe.

>> you're not messing around?

>> oh, no, not at all. i don't play when it comes to this.

>> reporter: in cincinnati, a fan giveaway, while chicago just sweats through its hottest day of the year.

>> i don't have central air at home, but i have two window air units, and they're on all day long.

>> reporter: suffocating heat and humidity.

>> i looked at the weather, and it said it was like 95 right now. probably feels like, i don't know, 110 up here.

>> reporter: from the cornfields of iowa to the streets of minneapolis.

>> how's everyone doing this afternoon?

>> reporter: captain steve has been rolling down the river for five years, guiding duck boat tours here in d.c.

>> one of the great tricks is to freeze a wet towel, get that out, keep it in your cooler, and mop yourself off with it.

>> reporter: another good trick, of course, is to get into the water. that's what these kids are doing at the swim club. think about this, matt. before 8:00 this morning, they will have swam 150 laps. this is swim club. that's more than five miles.

>> it's a little warm for that, even if you are in a pool. peter alexander , peter, thank you very much. let's go outside. al is on the plaza with more on this. al?

>> thanks, guys. right now we're looking at 86 degrees currently, and the heat, it's just unbearable. we've got over 20 states where we have either excessive heat warnings or heat advisories from boston all the way into the dakotas . we're talking about 100 million people being affected by this heat. it's going to feel like it's 106 in hartford, 97 in boston. new york, it will feel like # 04. 106 in washington. as we make our way to the west, those heat indexes, again, very, very dangerous. st. louis, 104. louisville, 101. up in rockford, 101. into the dakotas , those heat indexes still stay up. the good news is we're going to see relief. a funnel system is going to push in. we'll start to see cooling on friday in the great lakes and the upper midwest . by saturday, we see that cooling aramair making its way across the great lakes. 80s in the northeast with severe thunderstorms by sunday. everybody's back to more normal conditions in the eastern half of the country. we'll still see toasty temperatures through the 90s of texas on up into the dakotas . but for the most part, we will see a break. when we come back, that cool air comes with a price in severe weather . guys, back to you.

>> al, thank you very much.