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Sweltering Heat From Coast To Coast

It's a coast-to-coast cauldron Monday, after a steamy weekend across much of the Midwest and Northeast. Triple-digit temperatures and excessive-heat warnings are reported from Las Vegas to Philadelphia.

Temperatures well into the 90's are continuing today in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states and in many other parts of the United States. Humidity is only making things worse. In New Jersey, for example, the heat index could make it feel like 108 degrees in some spots. It's one of many places with heat warnings or advisories from the National Weather Service.

One hundred-plus degree temperatures are straining power supplies in California, reports CBS Radio News correspondent Barry Bagnato, and Washington radio stations are cautioning people with respiratory problems, the elderly and very young to stay indoors until the heat subsides.

One man working on a remodeling project at a hotel in downtown Cleveland, already sweating through his T-shirt by 10 a.m., says he's drinking a lot of water to cope with the heat. He says, "You get used to it after a while." The city's outdoor pools are normally closed on Mondays, but they're open today.

St. Louis has dozens of cooling centers open, with the heat index likely to make it feel like 115 today. Washington and Chicago are following suit, opening some well-cooled office buildings to the public.

White flags are flying outside the six homeless shelters in Louisville, Kentucky. That means the air conditioning is on, and it's a place to go to escape the heat.

National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Smiths says this could be the longest and hottest heat wave for the Washington area since 2002, when the mercury hit 95 degrees or higher for eight straight days. Officials are expecting poor air quality the next two days because of higher ozone levels.

In the desert near Palm Springs, Calif., the mercury is expected to hit 110 degrees Monday. Los Angeles is slightly cooler, but officials say they have placed the state on a power watch, CBS Radio News correspondent Steve Futterman reports.

Highs in the 90's or above are expected in almost every state from coast to coast, and about a dozen states were expecting Monday highs in the triple digits.

Scores of people in St. Louis were treated for heat-related illnesses over the sweltering weekend. The city and its surrounding counties are under an "Excessive Heat Warning" that extends through Friday. The National Weather Service says the heat index could reach 109 degrees on Monday.

Almost 100 people succumbed to the heat and needed treatment during the St. Louis Cardinals' game Sunday. Temperatures at the stadium exceeded 100 degrees. At least five people were taken to the hospital, but none of the cases appeared to be life threatening.

A young Indiana boy appears to be a victim of the extreme heat. Over the weekend, relatives found 3-year old Abraham Barlue unconscious inside the family's car.

The car was parked outside their apartment complex in South Bend. Investigators say he apparently had been playing in the vehicle, and may not have been able to get out. They don't know how long he'd been inside.

A bit of rainy relief hit the north-central and eastern United States, as a few showers moved over parts of the northern and central Great Lakes, but no significant rainfall amounts were reported. Farther east, a few showers and thunderstorms pushed across northern Maine.

Despite hot temperatures just miles away, a milder cold front reaches across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, Nebraska, and northeastern Colorado.

Southwest Oklahoma caught some of the worst of the heat, as Lawton had a high temperature of 106 and Oklahoma City's high was 102 degrees.

National Weather Service meteorologist Erin Maxwell says a high-pressure system hovering over Oklahoma and southern Nebraska is expected to keep temperatures in the triple digits through Friday.

The nearly nationwide heat wave set in on Sunday, causing Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to announce that the state would make more than 130 office buildings available as cooling centers beginning Monday. Washington also is opening up cooling centers this week.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had ordered the National Guard out to help firefighters as temperatures even in the normally cool northern part of the state pushed 100 degrees amid very dry conditions.

This week's scorching weather is only part of a larger trend. According to a new report from the government's climate data researchers, the first half of 2006 was actually the warmest on record, CBS News correspondent Jim Acosta reports.

"I could use a pool out here," Doreen Venick, 36, said Sunday as she took shelter in the shade of a small tree with her two kids and her sister at a children's festival in Brick, N.J.

South Dakota posted some of the nation's highest temperatures over the weekend with a reading Saturday of 115 in Pierre, the state capital, and an unofficial report of 120 outside the town of Usta in the state's northwest corner.

"There's a lot of records that are falling across the state," said Todd Heitkamp, a weather service meteorologist in Sioux Falls.

In 1934, a heat wave began in Michigan that claimed 679 lives. Three hundred people perished from the heat in Detroit alone.

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