Heat wave threatens East Coast

CHARLOTTE — Forecasters say a potentially life-threatening heat wave could develop this week in the Northeast, then spread into the Carolinas later in the week.

Readings of 100 or hotter are predicted for cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and New York City on today and Wednesday.

A high pressure system that dropped into the eastern United States from Canada and brought the record chilly temperatures to Charlotte on Saturday will be responsible for the heat. The high pressure system is turning into a heat pump, courtesy of strong July sunshine.

An excessive heat advisory has been posted in New York City and Philadelphia, where authorities are opening "cooling stations," air-conditioned buildings where residents can come and get relief. Humidity levels are expected to climb today and Wednesday.

Some relief from the hot weather is forecast by Thursday or Friday.

"Southern locations will feel the inferno later in the week," said Alex Sosnowski, a meteorologist with Pennsylvania-based Accu-Weather, a private firm.

Sosnowski said humidity levels will climb in the Southeast as the week progresses.

Sosnowski said parts of the Tennessee valley and Middle Atlantic are experiencing the warmest spring on record.

"In parts of the Northeast, strawberries were harvested in during May instead of June, while peaches are also being picked a month ahead of schedule," he said.