It could take days for areas broiling under temperatures in the 90s to get relief, forecasters said, as a record-breaking heat wave canceled class and even buckled highway pavement in at least one area.
Sweltering temperatures across half the country have people doing what they can to stay cool, and they'll need to keep doing it for the rest of the week in some places.
The 6-to-10-day outlook from the federal Climate Prediction Center calls for continued above-average readings centered on the mid-South, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and extending as far as the Great Lakes and New York and New Jersey.
"I'm staying in my house. I'm going to watch TV and have a cold beer," said 84-year-old Harvey Milliman of Manchester, N.J. "You got a better idea than that, I'd love to hear it."
Public schools in Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey and Maryland cut their days short Wednesday because of the heat. Cooling centers opened in Chicago, Memphis, Tenn., and Newark, N.J., as a refuge for those without air conditioning.