East Coast Gets Relief from Heat, Not Humidity

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WASHINGTON -- After four days of steamy, 100 degree heat, the East Coast is starting to cool down - but not much.

Although forecasters predicted that some relief from the heat is in sight, the humidity remains brutal.

Temperatures have finally dipped into the low 90's along the eastern seaboard, which may sound downright refreshing to many residents after several days of scorching heat.

But as the temperatures drop, the stifling humidity is expected to hang on at least through the weekend.

"It's pretty disgusting out here," one D.C. resident observed. "It's hard to go to work in the morning."

Cities like Washington, D.C. have been hit particularly hard by the oppressive heat.

Scientists call such places "heat islands" -- densely packed urban areas that absorb more of the sun's energy during the day and are slower to release it at night. That translates into little relief from the heat and sky high electrical use that puts an extreme drain on the power grid.

New York City officials pleaded with residents to conserve energy this week. Office buildings responded by shutting down elevators and lowering the lights. Some people even ditched their beloved air conditioners.

"I turned the A.C. off," New York City resident Mike Durkin said. "My heart sinks when I say that."

In Boston, concerns over the power grid prompted officials to pay residents to cut their energy consumption.

"At the grocery store, you might see only about two-thirds of the lights on," EnerNOC Chairman and CEO Tim Healy said.

Despite the discomfort, the energy conservation measures serve as lessons learned for when the next heat wave inevitably strikes.

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