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Video: Much of US sizzles in summer heat

  1. Closed captioning of: Much of US sizzles in summer heat

    >> fourth of july america is celebrating with parades, cookouts and fireworks. but for many across the nation, this independence day is different. in some states that are tinder dry, there will be no fireworks. in parts of 10 states, today is all about sweating it out without air conditioning , without any electricity at all as crews spend the holiday working to get the power back on after deadly storms. we have it all covered tonight beginning with the extreme heat. nbc's john yang is in chicago . good evening, john.

    >> reporter: good evening, kate. all across the heartland it has been a scorcher of a fourth of july. highs in the triple digits as far north as minnesota and wisconsin. here in chicago the high was 102. that ties a record set a century ago. across the eastern half of the country, americans spent the nation's 236th birthday trying to beat the heat.

    >> it's definitely really hot.

    >> reporter: she had only it's second triple digit 4th since they began keeping records. people jammed the beaches although the nation's water temperatures in the mid-70s. cooler water in park fountains and frozen treats.

    >> we were going to go to the beach but i think it's too hot for that.

    >> i go inside and the first thing i do is stand in front of the window unit.

    >> reporter: milwaukee set an all-time record high as madison, wisconsin, south bend , indiana and paducah,, kentucky. storm tracker paul, minnesota,'s half marathon was cut to five miles. in philadelphia's july 4th parade, they sweltered as they passed city hall . similar scenes in st. louis, which has hit triple digits for a week a firetruck helped cool off suspects. the oppressive temperatures with highs from the 100s from the plains to atlantic are the as a result of air stalled over the midsection.

    >> typically we don't see it this hot so early in the season. we are talking about unprecedented temperatures for places like atlanta, st. louis 100 degrees seven days in a row. that is something we don't normally see.

    >> reporter: if that weren't enough, nearly a million people in 10 states in the district of columbia spent the 4th just like the founding fathers . no electricity, no air conditioning . last week's ferocious storms are blamed for at least 20 deaths. in washington there was no holiday for work crews removing downed trees so utility workers can restore power.

    >> i can't wait to go home. i'm so tired of this.

    >> reporter: his family owned grocery store in chevy chase , maryland has been without power since friday night.

    >> we've lost everything. we've lost everything that required refrigerator.

    >> reporter: here in chicago , there is no relief in sight for the rest of the week. an excessive heat advisory is in place until friday night. kate.

    >> john yang in chicago . stay

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