Extreme heat bakes Midwest, parts of East CoastGreat weekend for beach, outdoor activity

Visitors get much needed relief from a water sprinkler set up at the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial, rear, in Washington this morning. The heat gripping much of the country is set to peak today in many places, including some Northeast cities, where temperatures close to or surpassing 100 degrees are expected.

Today is expected to be clear, sunny and dry, with a gentle, westerly breeze, according to a forecast released this morning by the National Weather Service.

The temperature should reach the mid 90s by this afternoon, with heat index readings of up to 107. West winds at 5 mph will shift to southwest winds, 10 to 15 mph later in the day.

Tonight should be mostly clear, with lows in the upper 70s and southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Tomorrow it should be sunny in the morning, turning partly cloudy, with highs in the mid 90s, except near the coast, where it will be a few degrees cooler. Sunday night was expected to be partly cloudy in the evening, then mostly clear. Lows in the mid 70s. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph.

No rain is forecast until Monday, when there is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.