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'No relief' from drought as sweltering temperatures return to Midwest, Northeast

The Weather Channel's Eric Fisher says the dry conditions affecting half of the country will have enormous financial implications.

About 200 million Americans once again saw furnace-like temperatures as the latest heat wave slammed the Midwest and Northeast. 

Heat advisories were issued Tuesday throughout those areas. Detroit, for example, matched its record of 101 degrees for a July 17 (set in 1887) -- and it felt like 105, the National Weather Service reported

Chicago reached 99 degrees and it felt like 102, while New York City topped out at 94 degrees.

"The jet stream has been way up to the north in the midsection of the country," TODAY meteorologist Al Roker said Tuesday. It's being kept there by what's called an upper-level ridge, and that's keeping that section of the U.S. very warm, he added.

The jet stream will drop a bit farther south next week but overall the ridge trapping heat will continue into next week, dire news for drought-hit farmers and ranchers. "There's no relief in sight for at least the next week from drought," Roker said.

As the U.S. experiences another heat wave, farmers are being hit hard by the worst drought conditions recorded since 1956 and consumers can expect to see corn prices rising. The Weather Channel's Eric Fisher reports.

The heat-trapping ridge will also "stretch out" to the west over the next week, Roker added.

Storms will bring some relief to the upper Midwest, but not enough to put a dent in the drought. 

In Chicago, the cool front should move in Tuesday night after two days around 100. Last week, the city saw three straight days of triple-digit temperatures -- and a Lake Michigan with 80-degree water along the beaches.

In New York City, the heat wave will break by Wednesday evening with the arrival of strong thunderstorms.

New York is in its fourth heat wave of the summer, NBCNewYork.com reported Tuesday, and Central Park has already hit 90 degrees or higher 13 times this summer -- nearly the 15 days it averages for an entire summer.

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On the upside, there's still a long way to go to break Central Park's record of 39 days, set in 1993 and 1991.

Newark, N.J., has seen 18 days at 90 degrees or higher; LaGuardia Airport 17, NBCNewYork.com added.

Chicago has had it even worse: 28 days above 90 -- on track to top its record for a summer, 47 days in the 90s in 1988, WBBM-TV reported.

Washington, D.C., has had 26 days above 90 -- way ahead of its 16-17 days for this time of year, NBCWashington.com reported.

Besides scores of cities reporting record daily highs this month, several have also posted record temperatures for any day in July. Among them, reported The Weather Channel's Eric Fisher, are Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

Boston nearly joined that list on Tuesday, reaching 96 degrees -- just 2 shy of its July record.

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