Summer brought 90-degree temperatures, setting record highs in Burlington, Vt., New York and Newark, N.J. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.
Temperatures across the Northeast approached triple digits Wednesday, with some areas breaking their June 20 records, just as summer officially began on the longest day of the year.
NBCNewYork.com reported that new June 20 records included: New York City's LaGuardia Airport at 98 degrees (previous record was 96 in 1953); JFK Airport at 94 degrees (topping 93 in 1955); and Newark, N.J., at 98 (topping 97 in 1953).
Temperatures were 10 to 20 degrees above average across the region and the humidity made it feel even hotter.
In New York City's Central Park, when the temperature hit 93 the humidity made it feel like 97. In Boston, it was 93 but felt like 100.
Several people were treated for heat exhaustion at a high school graduation in North Bergen, N.J., and taken to a hospital, The Record of Bergen County reported. Ambulances were on standby at the event, which was held outside to accommodate about 5,000 people, said Capt. Gerald Sanzari of the North Bergen Police Department.
In Howell, N.J., school officials made Wednesday the last day of the school year instead of Thursday, citing the heat. And at nearby Wall High School, people attending the graduation ceremony will be able to watch a remote broadcast inside the air-conditioned building.
Weather.com posted these temps for 3:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Sweltering heat also persisted farther to the west in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, including Chicago, Ill., Detroit, Mich., Cleveland, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky.
Health officials warned residents to drink water, stay out of the sun and in air conditioning, and to check on elderly neighbors and pets. For those without air conditioning, "cooling centers" were set up in public buildings in dozens of cities.
New York City's 1.1 million public school students are still in session for another week, and just 64 percent of classrooms are air-conditioned.
Students were being advised to wear light clothing and drink plenty of water, and schools have been told to limit outdoor playtime, city Education Department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said.
In Brooklyn, street vendor James Martin said his family's sixth-floor apartment in Coney Island has no air conditioning and can get really hot. But "we open the front door and all the windows, and we get a nice breeze," he said.
Arif Ali / AFP - Getty Images
Celebrating the warm summer months, as schools let out and the cooling off begins
Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., opened several spray parks on Tuesday to help residents cool off as hot, muggy weather settled in. Buffalo, which will only be in the mid- to high-80s on Wednesday and Thursday, doesn't normally open its 11 splash pads until July 1.
In a rare bending of the rules, the Metro in Washington, D.C., said passengers on Wednesday and Thursday would be allowed to drink water, an exception to their no-drinks policy.
The National Weather Service said the temperature at Washington National Airport was 95 degrees just before 2 p.m., though it felt like 99.
Moderate relief from the high mercury should come this weekend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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