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The heat wave has stretched far beyond the Deep South, where people are more accustomed to long, steamy summers. In the nation’s capital, temperatures have hit at least 90 degrees on 45 days so far, said National Weather Service meteorologist Heath Sheffield. There were only 22 such days last year.

Chris and Ingrid Hayes and their three children found Washington hot - though not as toasty as their hometown of Atlanta. They had stopped for a photo in front of the White House earlier in the morning when it was cooler, and they planned to stroll through the National Mall’s many air-conditioned museums as the sun began to beat down more intensely.

“We’re hoping that helps break up the heat,” Mrs. Hayes said.

Carriage tour operators at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall were facing the possibility of shutting down early so the horses didn’t overheat.

“I’ve had a couple [of tourists] I thought were going to pass out and die out here,” said Kim Hart of 76 Carriage Co. “They were from cooler climates, so they weren’t used to it.”

Even the northeasternmost corner of the United States has been feeling it this summer. In Portland, Maine, last month was the second-hottest July on record.