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East Coast endures first official heat wave of the summer

Michael Dwyer / AP

Chanze Eldridge, 5, of Boston, plays in the fountain at the Christian Science Center in Boston, Saturday, July 6, 2013. Temperatures reached into the 90s with high humidity in the Boston area on Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The East Coast sweated through its first official heat wave of the summer over the weekend, but forecasters said to expect that sticky feeling to hang around even as temperatures dip.

“It will still be as humid, but it won’t be as hot,” said Mark Ressler, a lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

Heat waves, fires and floods have tormented parts of the country as millions of Americans are on alert for wild weather. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.

States down the eastern seaboard have experienced temperatures in the 90s since Wednesday.

Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City and Philadelphia saw some of the hottest temperatures of the heat wave over the Fourth of July weekend, Ressler said.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat advisory for parts of New York and Massachusetts on Sunday, citing dangerous levels of heat and humidity. With the heat and humidity combined, it felt like temperatures reached 105 degrees in some areas.

Julie Koesterer, a mother of three from St. Louis, said it’s been hotter on her family’s weekend visit to New York City than it usually is in the Midwest. She said her family has been combating the heat by drinking lots of water and keeping their eyes peeled for the next air-conditioned stop on their trip.

“The kids are having a really hard time walking around in the heat,” Koesterer said on Sunday. “We start sweating as soon as we walk out the door and every night we shower as soon as we get back to the hotel to try to cool down.”

While the temperatures are not unusual for early July, Ressler said this was the first official heat wave for the East Coast. Heat waves are marked by three days of continuous heat with temperatures in the 90s or higher. Sunday marks Boston’s fifth day of unrelenting heat, although thunderstorms are expected to move into the area Sunday evening, forecasters said.

Peter Schneider / EPA

As the weather heats up, families and friends head outdoors to soak up the sun

And for most of the affected areas, it’s not just hot during the day. Temperatures stayed above 70 degrees in urban cities all weekend, Ressler said.

In the Southeast region of the country, Ressler said temperatures were below average because of clouds and rainfall. Like the East Coast, humidity was still high.

Ressler said the cooler temperatures are unusual for the South during the summer months.

“You think about the South as being searingly hot when you get into the summer,” he said. “Going back into the middle of last week, temperatures were in the 70s, which doesn’t happen in July really at all.”

By Monday, a hot-weather reprieve is expected to drop temperatures on the East Coast a few degrees to the 80s, where they will likely stay for the rest of the week.

Ressler said the Northeast may stand to see another extended period of heat toward the middle of July.