Parts of the nation suffering after heat, storms, power outages

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People in the East are suffered through another day of sweltering temperatures Monday, July 2nd, and there's not much letup in sight.

Nearly 1.8 million of them are still without power in the aftermath of a round of severe storms that struck over the weekend. The outages extend from North Carolina to New Jersey and as far west as Illinois.

Utility officials say the power will probably be out for several more days for some people. That's because the storm arrived Friday with little warning and knocked out power to 3 million homes and businesses. Utility companies have had to wait days for extra crews traveling from as far away as Quebec and Oklahoma.

Adding to the urgency of the repairs are the sick and elderly, who are especially vulnerable without air conditioning in the sweltering heat. Many have sought refuge in hotels or basements.

Officials fear the death toll, already at 22, could climb because of the heat and widespread use of generators, which emit fumes that can be dangerous in enclosed spaces.

Meanwhile, southerners are baking in the heat, which has climbed past 100 degrees in many areas.

The National Weather Service says both Atlanta and Columbus, Ga., recorded their hottest-ever temperatures Monday, July 2nd at 106 degrees.

Still, those weren't the hottest places to be in Georgia. Macon hit 108 degrees, tying its hottest-day-on-record from 1980. And temperatures climbed to 107 in Athens, which was a little cooler than Friday's 109 degrees in the city.

In Charlotte, N.C., the temperature hit 104 Monday, and the Raleigh-Durham airport matched its hottest temperature ever at 105 degrees. Fayetteville set a daily record of 102 degrees.

In South Carolina, it climbed to 109 degrees Monday at Columbia Metropolitan Airport. But still, it didn't come close to Sunday's blistering 113 degrees on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia.