Heat, humidity keeps hold on Eastern US as weekend slogs on

NEW YORK (AP) — A heat wave will continue to keep much of the Eastern United States in its grip Sunday, while a cold front that could lower temperatures in the middle of the country may be accompanied by thunderstorms that threaten flash floods.

The National Weather Service says the "oppressive and dangerous" heat wave will abate by Monday and Tuesday. The agency says a swath of the East Coast, from the Carolinas up to Maine, faces the greatest heat threat Sunday. Daytime highs are expected in the mid-to-upper 90s, which, coupled with high humidity, will feel like 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 43 degrees Celsius).

It's not expected to get much better when the sun goes down, as temperatures are expected to remain at or above the high 70s overnight (26 degrees Celsius).

RELATED: Impact of global heat wave - 2017

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Impact of global heat wave -- June 2017
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Impact of global heat wave -- June 2017
A man jumps from a bridge into the Limmat river during hot temperatures in Zurich, Switzerland June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A child plays in a fountain of water to cool off from the heat at the Miroir d'Eau (Mirror of Water), in Nantes as unusually high temperatures hit France, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Boys swim in a stream during a heatwave in Islamabad, Pakistan June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Caren Firouz TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A child cools off from the heat at the Miroir d'Eau (Mirror of Water), in Nantes as unusually high temperatures hit France, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
People enjoy a sunny afternoon at Lake Leman during a heat wave in Lausanne, Switzerland June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JUNE 4: Boys jump into a water channel to get relief from heat wave conditions on a hot sunny day, on June 4, 2017 in New Delhi, India. Central India and North Western plains are still wrapped under intense heat-wave conditions. Temperatures are likely to reach around 48C. (Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
People sit on chairs outside their house to avoid the heat on the first night of the summer during a heatwave in Setenil de las Bodegas, southern Spain, June 21, 2017. Picture taken June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
A man jumps in to the lake Chiemsee near the small Bavarian village Chieming, southern Germany, in front of the Alp mountain Kampenwand during hot summer weather with temperatures by 33 degrees on June 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
WHIPSNADE, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 21: Barasinga and Pere David deer cool down on the hottest day of the year at ZSL Whipsnade on June 21, 2017 in Whipsnade, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Tony Margiocchi /Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Tony Margiocchi /Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A man and a boy wash and cool off their dog with the water of an opened fire hydrant in Pantin near Porte de La Villette, north of Paris, on June 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Laurent EMMANUEL (Photo credit should read LAURENT EMMANUEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Los Angeles County fire fighting helicopter refilling water at a parking lot during the Castaic Lake fire in Castaic, California on June 17, 2017.Firefighters battle several wildfires in Southern California as the region is hit with the first major heat wave of the summer. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A tourist uses an umbrella to cover from the sun and a fan, decorated with bullfighting paintings, to cool off herself as she walks in Alameda del Tajo park during a heatwave in Ronda, Spain, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
People relax as they float in their dinghies during hot temperatures down the Limmat river in Zurich, Switzerland June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
People row rental boats at Retiro park during a heatwave in Madrid, Spain, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Susana Vera
People enjoy a sunny afternoon at Lake Leman during a heat wave in Lausanne, Switzerland June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
A bear cub and its mother bear eats fruits chilled by ice on a hot day at an amusement park in Yongin, South Korea, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Tourists shield themselves with umbrellas on a hot day at the Merlion Park in Singapore June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su
A lion plays with balloons filled with water on a hot day at an amusement park in Yongin, South Korea, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A tourist uses an electric handheld fan to cool herself next to a statue of a bull outside a bullring during a heatwave in Ronda, near Malaga, Spain June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
An elephant sprays water to cool itself on a hot day at an amusement park in Yongin, South Korea, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A young man jumps into the river Aare on June 21, 2017 in Bern. Europe sizzled in a continent-wide heatwave with London bracing for Britain's hottest June day since 1976 as Portugal battled to stamp out deadly forest fires. Cooler weather was aiding their efforts, but thermometers were still hovering around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a level matched across oven-like swathes of Europe, including Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and even alpine Switzerland. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 21: People sunbathe in Hamsptead Heath, London, United Kingdom on June 21, 2017. Today a heatwave bringing the hottest June day for 40 years is hitting the whole UK with temperatures reaching 40C. (Photo by Isabel Infantes/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A boy rests in a sculpture in a children's playground in the center of Ukrainian capital of Kiev on June 21, 2017 as Europe sizzled in a continent-wide heatwave. Thermometers were still hovering around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a level matched across oven-like swathes of Europe, including Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and even alpine Switzerland. / AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl stands in the Duinrell amusement park on June 21, 2017 in Wassenaar as Europe sizzled in a continent-wide heatwave. Thermometers were still hovering around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a level matched across oven-like swathes of Europe, including Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and even alpine Switzerland. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Koen van Weel / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit should read KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP/Getty Images)
BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: A holidaymaker enjoys the sun on Blackpool's North Pier on June 19, 2017 in Blackpool, England. The UK has officially been put on heatwave alert as the Government issued a level three amber heat warning as temperatures are set to increase. In some parts of the Uk temperatures are expected to peak at 34C. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People sunbath near the Trocadero fountain in Paris, on June 19, 2017, as the French capital is placed on heatwave alert as temperatures are set to soar in the coming days. / AFP PHOTO / LUDOVIC MARIN (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
LAHORE, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN - 2017/06/04: Pakistani people taking bath in the canal water to beat the heat and get some relief from the extremely hot weather during eighth day of the holy month of Ramzan ul Mubarak. Maximum temperature of 47 degrees Celsius in Lahore was recorded. Experts have forecast the prevailing harsh weather conditions to persist during the next week; sizzling heat forced the people to stay indoors, decreasing traffic on otherwise busy roads at noon and in the afternoon. (Photo by Rana Sajid Hussain/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
GURUGRAM, INDIA - JUNE 4: Social activists distribute drinking water to passenger at Gurgaon Railway Station as temperature rises 47 degree Celsius, on June 4, 2017 in Gurugram, India. Central India and North Western plains are still wrapped under intense heat-wave conditions. Temperatures are likely to reach around 48C. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
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Inland, strong wind and rain were expected to persist Sunday in the Midwest, and a cold front stretching between the Central Plains and the Great Lakes region is forecast to move south. But in addition to cooler temperatures, the cold front is expected to carry showers and thunderstorms, which could lead to heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the Midwest.

Many in areas facing excessive heat this weekend have no air conditioning, and cities have opened cooling shelters. With record- or near-record-high temperatures at night, when many air-conditioned places are closed, the weather can become especially dangerous for people who don't get a chance to cool down, experts say. The risks are greater for young children, the elderly and the sick.

In Norwich, Connecticut, Larry Konecny watched as one of his workers in a boom lift cleaned the outside of an office building, a couple of stories up. The pair had no choice but to work in 90-degree (32-degree Celsius) heat and stifling humidity because the job needed to be done when office workers were away, Konecny said.

"He's pressure-washing, so the water is splashing," he said. "So at least there's some degree of refreshment."

The heat wave has canceled events across the affected region, including in New York City, where authorities scrubbed a Times Square commemoration of the 1969 moon landing and an outdoor festival featuring soccer star Megan Rapinoe and musician John Legend.

As animal rights activists protested outside, operators of the Monmouth Park horse racing track in New Jersey canceled some races and pushed back others Saturday, including the $1 million Haskell Invitational that went off after 8 p.m. Maximum Security, the horse that crossed the finish line first in this year's Kentucky Derby and then was disqualified, was declared the victor after a short steward's inquiry.

Amid pressure over a series of horse deaths in California, several other tracks canceled their Saturday races, including Saratoga Race Course and Finger Lakes in New York and Laurel Park in Maryland.

In Chicago, heat nixed several outdoor events, including a 5K run in Grant Park and a morning workout at Millennium Park. Over three days in July 1995, more than 700 people died during a heat wave in Chicago as temperatures rose above 97 degrees (36 degrees Celsius). Many of the dead were poor, elderly and lived alone.

It had hit 94 degrees (34 degrees Celsius) by first pitch at the San Diego Padres-Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field, but some fans didn't want to stay away, largely watching from shaded concourses as the Cubs won 6-5.

"We're sticking to water and not having beer. It's helping a little bit," said Jaclyn Jendrisak of St. Louis.

Other big-league ballparks broiled , with players avoiding on-field batting practice as fans were encouraged to keep drinking from supplemental hydration stations at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, the PA system at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati cried for the weather to "Let It Snow," blaring it along with other winter-themed pregame songs.

Storms have knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin, heightening the misery.

In Philadelphia, several hundred people were evacuated from a retirement community due to a partial power outage, though it wasn't immediately clear whether the problem was heat-related. Residents were taken to a nearby shelter, and police said some went to a hospital for evaluation.

To reduce strain on the electrical grid, New York City also directed office buildings to set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees (26 degrees Celsius) through Sunday.

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Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz, Julie Walker, Ben Walker and Ronald Blum in New York; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Susan Haigh in Norwich, Connecticut, and Tom Canavan in Oceanport, New Jersey, and Michal Dwojak in Chicago contributed to this report.

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