The extreme Heat wave of 2012
A heat advisory is in effect in several areas of the country. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.
Weather information for the National's Capital.
The heat is on over much of the country, and it is only expected to get worse through the weekend. Some areas could see all time record highs.
David Goldman / AP
The heat wave smothering the central U.S. on Friday spread east -- and for Washington, D.C., that meant topping out at 104 degrees at Reagan National Airport around 5 p.m. ET.
The old record of 101 degrees stood for 138 years. Washington's all-time record is 106.
Nashville, Tenn., saw 109 degrees on Friday -- smashing its 60-year record by two degrees.
Triple-digit temperatures across the Mid-Atlantic were expected to break records elsewhere as well, the weather service reported earlier.
Record-breaking heat will continue into the weekend and possibly through the July 4th holiday, it added, "and overnight lows will struggle to drop below 70."
Much of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast on Friday joined areas in the Plains and Midwest with excessive heat warnings and heat advisories. The Northeast was only slightly cooler.
High humidity could make it feel like 119 degrees in some Carolina coastal areas by Saturday afternoon, the weather service stated.
On Thursday, Norton, Kan., was the hottest spot in the nation, topping out at 118 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center. In all, 22 Kansas locations reached 110 or hotter on Thursday.
Over the previous five days, another Kansas town, Hill City, held that hottest spot, reaching 115 degrees on Wednesday.
The Weather Channel estimated that on Thursday nearly 93 million Americans were in areas under heat advisories and 21 million in areas with excessive heat warnings.
Story: Heat hub for US is Kansas farm town -- not Death Valley
Indianapolis on Thursday saw its warmest June day on record when the thermometer reached 103 degrees.
Chicago reached 100 degrees at 3 p.m. local time, but the heat index made it feel like 111.
In Kansas City, Mo., the heat was suspected of contributing to the deaths of a man and an infant, KSHB-TV reported.
Meteorologists expect little relief over the next couple of weeks.
"This overall pattern looks like it is going to stick around well into July," Alex Sosnowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com, told Reuters.
"It looks pretty much rock solid centered on the Central Plains and Central Rockies over into the Tennessee Valley interior south," Sosnowski said. "It's anchored in there and it's really not going to change much."
Sosnowski said temperatures would spike toward 100 degrees from Chicago to Washington, D.C., and possibly New York every now and then, and areas from Colorado to the interior of the Carolinas would have little hope for temporary relief.
More than 1,000 temperature records broken in a week
Temperatures will push 90 degrees most days in New York, Washington and Philadelphia the next two weeks, while Denver, Kansas City and the middle of the nation will tend to see high temperatures pushing 100 degrees, he said.
The dry conditions and high temperatures have exacerbated wildfires in western states, and have threatened corn crops and stressed livestock in the Central Plains.