Austin Plagued By Record Heat Wave

At around 2 p.m. in Austin, Texas, an unhappy record was broken: this is the 70th day that temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees. The last time that happened was in 1925.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host: Today, at around 2:00 p.m. in Austin, Texas, an unhappy record was broken. This is the 70th day this year that temperatures there have exceeded 100 degrees. That broke the city's record of triple digit days set in 1925.

NPR's John Burnett sent us this postcard from the scorched streets of the Texas capitol.

JOHN BURNETT: It's always hot in Texas in the summer, but this one has been like no other in memory. The heat is like a malevolent force. People are sweaty, people are cranky, people are worshipping freon. To walk outside in the afternoon is to get cooked.

Collin Vozay(ph) is a self-described computer geek visiting from New Jersey. Following him is comics writer, Chris Roberson.

COLLIN VOZAY: Wow, it's so hot that the air conditioning anywhere I've been has been completely inadequate. I tend to like things really refrigerated, so it's been quite brutal and it's, of course, here I am in a three-piece suit. So it's quite painful, yeah.

CHRIS ROBERSON: It's so hot that next June, I'm moving to Portland, Oregon where it's not as hot. After living here for 14 years continuously and living in Texas for 39 or 41 years, I'm leaving. It's too hot.

BURNETT: Out hosing down his lawn is psychologist George Withers, whose office is across the street from a park.

GEORGE WITHERS: It's so hot that some of these Sundays when I look around the park and the streets, I don't see anybody. I think of a movie like "The Day Earth Stood Still" or something. Where everybody's gone to? Where are they?

WALT EATON: It's so hot that every afternoon at 12:00, from 12:00 to 1:00, I got to take a dip in the pool.

BURNETT: UPS driver Walter Eaton - remember, the big, brown trucks are open-doored and un-air-conditioned - has been jumping in a public swimming pool every day.

EATON: That's just about it. I have to have about 25 cold waters every day.

ANGIE HAWKINS: It's so hot that I can just burst into flames right where I'm sitting right now.

BURNETT: Angie Hawkins sits under a big live oak tree outside the Texas Department of State Health Services, where she works.

HAWKINS: It's been so dry and everything is brown and parched and it's just kind of depressing just looking at all the trees that are - you know, the leaves are brown and I'd give anything to see some rain right now.

BURNETT: The really depressing thing is that the triple digits are not supposed to break until sometime in September. It makes Caroline Morgan of the State Health Services Department think of a worse punishment.

CAROLINE MORGAN: I'm going to give you a church answer. It's so hot here, I do not want to go to hell because it's hotter in hell.

BURNETT: John Burnett, NPR News, Austin.

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