NEW YORK (AP) - Commuters up and down the East Coast sweated on their way to work Wednesday and others stayed close to fans and swimming pools as the temperature and humidity climbed back up to heat wave levels after a night of little relief.
In the stifling subway tunnels, there was no air conditioning on three cars of the train Sayed Bukhari rode into Manhattan.
"People were crying," Bukhari said.
The National Weather Service posted heat advisories and warnings from Maine to Oklahoma. Triple-digit temperatures were forecast Wednesday along the East Coast as far north as parts of Maine and New Hampshire.
By 11 a.m., the heat index at Washington's Reagan National Airport was 103 _ a combination of the 94-degree heat and 51 percent humidity _ and up north in Boston thermometers read 93, for a heat index of 101, the national Weather Service said. The temperature at Newark, N.J., already had hit 95.
Even before dawn, the temperature was already above 80 in Nashua, N.H. New York's LaGuardia Airport still had 92 degrees at midnight and eased only to 86 degrees by 6 a.m., the weather service said.
"You don't beat it," workman Frank Kenney, 40, said Tuesday in Bangor, Maine. "You just get through it."
Equipment problems and stormy weather caused scattered power outages during the night in parts of New England, New York and New Jersey, shutting off fans and air conditioners, utilities said.
Although demand for electricity to spin fans and air conditioners was expected to be high Wednesday along the East Coast, lower temperatures in the Midwest were helping to slightly reduce overall demand, said PJM Interconnection, the electrical grid operator that oversees power to 51 million people in 13 Eastern states. That meant regional demand should not hit a record, said spokesman Ray Dotter.
In the six-state New England region, however, demand could break a one-day record, set just two weeks ago, of 27,395 megawatts, said Erin O'Brien, a spokeswoman for grid operator ISO New England. Tuesday's demand just missed a record, she said.
The hot weather brought its share of troubles Tuesday, putting animals in jeopardy, disabling cars and prompting New York to turn off lights atop the Empire State Building.
Residents on Chicago's South Side were evacuated from high-rise buildings by the hundreds on Tuesday, one day after the power went out to 20,000 customers. Illinois officials blamed three deaths on the heat.
A 15-year-old high school football player died in Georgia, one day after collapsing in the heat at practice, and the heat was suspected in the death of a 75-year-old woman in Wisconsin who kept the air conditioning off to save money.
Utilities said customer demand for power reached or exceeded all-time record highs.
With a disastrous 10-day power outage in one borough still fresh in memory, thermostats at city offices in New York City were set at 78, up from the usual 72. Lights were turned down on the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, as were the lights illuminating the George Washington Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge and other spans.
Farmers used fans and cold showers to keep their cattle cool, but at least 25,000 chickens died of the heat at an Indiana when electricity was shut off so firefighters could fight a blaze at an adjacent building.
The American Automobile Association's Mid-Atlantic division handled 7,400 calls for assistance from Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening _ a 37 percent rise over normal summer call volume.
"That's about comparable to what we get in a major snowstorm," said John B. Townsend, an AAA spokesman. Many were for overheated vehicles, hoses, belts breaking down and cracking and tires blowing out on the hot asphalt.