CBSN

Heat Wave Bakes Eastern Half Of U.S.

Construction worker Eric Yanega pours water over his face as he takes a break from pouring concrete at a Monadnock high-rise building project in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday Aug. 1, 2006. Health experts advise plenty of water to prevent dehydration as local temperature is expected to rise into the triple digits.
AP/Bebeto Matthews
California, Oregon and Washington State are finally breathing easy again, with the temperatures in the 70s after weeks of triple digit weather blamed for numerous power outages and as many as 164 deaths in California alone.

The heat wave isn't over, though – it's just packed up and moved - to the eastern half of the United States.

The National Weather Service posted excessive heat warnings for communities from Maine to Illinois. Temperatures in Philadelphia were to top out at around 102 and a high of around 90 was forecast for Grand Rapids, Mich., where the normal high on Aug. 2 is 82 degrees.

Electricity usage in the six-state New England region could top 28,000 megawatts Wednesday, breaking the one-day record of 27,395 megawatts set just two weeks ago, according to Erin O'Brien, a spokeswoman for ISO New England, which oversees the region. The demand Tuesday was just shy of the 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.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that about 1,200 residents on Chicago's South Side were evacuated from 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.

The blistering temperatures also scorched Conyers, Ga., where a 15-year-old high school football player died, one day after collapsing at practice.

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, the temperature in Chicago was 100, Baltimore reached 99 and Washington hit 97, though the humidity made it feel like 107. Highs of 100 in Newark, N.J., and 97 in Atlantic City, N.J., tied records. In Manchester, N.H, it reached 95, tying the record for the date set in 1933.

Utilities, in southeastern Pennsylvania, Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and two in Michigan, 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. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a heat emergency, CBS News' The Early Show weatherman Dave Price reports. 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.

"It feels like we're having a barbecue in Zimbabwe right now. That's when it felt like," a commuter told Price.

In Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where racehorses go to escape the summer's worst heat, it was 94 degrees Tuesday and is expected to soar to 98 on Wednesday.