Scorching Temperatures Return To Wilting East

The eastern U.S. cooked for another day Wednesday as unrelenting heat promised to push thermometers past 100 degrees in urban "heat islands," buckled roads, warped rails and pushed utilities toward the limit of the electrical grid's capacity. Philadelphia, Richmond, Va., and Baltimore, where the high on Tuesday was 105, were already at 97 degrees by late morning and were expected to hit 100 degrees later in the day. Triple digit forecast extended as far south as Charlotte, N.C. Cities farther north, including New York, were predicted to get into the high 90s, though higher humidity was expected to make it feel hotter. Sue Robels, 22, was getting out of the heat at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute science museum for an exhibit on Cleopatra. "My apartment isn't air conditioned, so it's going to be museums, movies, Starbucks, anywhere else but at home today," she said. Scattered power outages affected customers up and down the coast and usage approached record levels. In the Washington, D.C., area, nearly 1,000 customers were without power Wednesday, while New Jersey's largest utility, Public Service Electric & Gas, reported about 6,500 customers without power. Consolidated Edison in New York said it was working to restore power to about 6,300 customers, down from outages to 18,700 customers Tuesday.