Holiday Heat Wave Bakes the East Coast

Coney Island, N.Y., July 4, 2010
The sun made for some beautiful sights and the bands provided the patriotic sounds but on this Fourth of July in New York City the thermometer delivered some dangerous news, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"I mean today we got close to a hundred degrees in New York City and it looks as though that's going to continue for the next three days in the major cities of the I-95 corridor," said meteorologist Jeff Berardelli.

The star-spangled heat was felt up and down the east coast. Newark, N.J., hit 100. Baltimore hit 96. Philadephia hit 95 and Washington, D.C., and Boston climbed to 93 degrees.

"Especially during the day today and even during the day tomorrow is this westerly wind which comes up and over the mountains and then sinks," said Berardelli. "That sinking air actually rubs the molecules together […] just like rubbing your hands together. That actually heats the atmosphere more.

New Yorkers haven't seen three days in a row of 100 degree weather since 2006 but they know how to deal with it: Head to the beach. Coney Island for Jenny Santos and her family.

"Great day, beautiful day," said Santos. "Hopefully we won't roast up too badly. We got plenty of sun block and umbrellas and we should be good."

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut was worried the heat might affect his appetite. It didn't. Consuming 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island for the fourth year in a now.

"During the contest I was a little bit dehydrated because I had to stop drinking water during the contest," said Chestnut.

He said it was really hot. Just three days ago there was a dusting of snow atop Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. On a day like this July 4th, it makes for a cool thought.

  • Jim Axelrod
    Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.