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Schools closed, a highway buckled and utilities were keeping a wary eye on high demand for electricity as a record heat wave boosts temperatures into the 90s along the East Coast.

It's little more than a week since a cold snap dusted the Appalachians with snow and nipped young vegetables in the bud. And this extreme of heat follows a winter that set new standards for cold and snow in the Northeast."It's still May! If summer's started right now, how hot is it going to get?" Olga Gaouli-abris said in Philadelphia, where Monday's high of 94 tied the record for the date.

"Lordy, I'm dying," Mable Lucas said Monday as she waited for a bus in downtown Wilmington, N.C., which tied its record at 93. "Well, I guess it's started. We won't stop sweating until November."

Hot, humid air surged northward, not stopping until it bumped into a cold front that stretched Tuesday from Texas into northern New York state. The front was expected to move slowly southeastward, bringing relief later Tuesday to at least some of the Northeast.

On Monday, readings in the 90s extended from Texas eastward along the Gulf Coast and northward along the East Coast.

Newark, N.J., reached 99, the hottest on record there for the entire month of May. Windsor Locks, Conn., also hit a record 99 and New York hit 96, far surpassing the old record for the date, 91.