Nightly News   |  July 19, 2013

When heat exhaustion is ‘just part of the job’

Power crews rushed to repair problems in the searing sun while firefighters battled blazes in the scorching heat that has lingered over the East Coast for days. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> we mentioned the top of the broadcast, the heat continues to make news across about half of this country. where in some spots, it got worse today. the heat index map tonight shows what it felt like at the height of it today, with a lot of population centers reporting triple digits. nbc's stephanie gosk is back out in it. out at jones beach on long island. zefny, good evening.

>> good evening, brian, there's a nice breeze coming off the water here tonight. it's kind of like nature's air conditioning . you know, as the week began, very few americans knew what a heat dome was. they know now.

>> it's excruciating out here.

>> the oppressive heat dome pushed stermts up and up. building to today, the hottest of them all.

>> hotter than a fox in a forest fire .

>> forecasters called the weather pattern unique, because it moved backwards.

>> just about all weather systems in the u.s. move from west to east. our heat waves generally begin in the plains, this developed on the east coast . the heat bubble shifted west during the week.

>> a week-long heat wave put serious pressure on the power grid . today, new york city utility company con edison hit a record for daily demand.

>> do go through a week like this without really any major event is quite an accomplishment.

>> crews rushed to quickly repair problems, even if it meant working in the searing sun. firefighters continued to take a beating as well. and in ben salem, pennsylvania, the nifty 50s diner burnt down, heat exhaustion was parts of the job.

>> rotate water, got to keep them hydrated.

>> the places people normally going to beat the heat were teaming. at jones beach , new york, lifeguards were extra vigilant.

>> there's a lot of people in the water.

>> you have to look at the hotspots, the multicolored water, you look at their stroke.

>> and there were other hazards as well, sand baking in the sun all day can make the walk back to the car a little tricky.

>> i stopped halfway under somebody else's umbrella and my friend ran back to get my sandals.

>> because your feet were burning?

>> so hot.

>> even with the sizzling sand, there was still a consensus here, a day at the beach is definitely better than sweating it out at home. at one point, the sand here was hotter than 110 degrees, it started to cool down, there's still not a lot of people leaving. tonight is going to be the last really hot night. brian?

>> stephanie gosk, jones beach , long island new york in the