Fireworks boomed, grills sizzled and bodies baked Thursday as Connecticut residents celebrated the birth of this nation.
This July 4 also may have given birth to the region's latest heat wave as temperatures Thursday approached 90 and the heat index, which combines temperature and humidity, reached 100. The high temperatures in the forecast prompted the National Weather Service to issue heat advisories in Hartford and New York City.
And it's only going to get hotter.
Forecasts call for the temperatures to hit the 90s Friday and linger there the next five days. Just three consecutive days of 90 degree temperatures constitute a heat wave.
And don't expect the nights to be much cooler.
But after nearly two weeks of dreary overcast skies and dousing downpours, the first golden rays of sun convinced residents to pull out their swimsuits, slip on flip-flops and head to the beach.
By 8:45 a.m. parking places at Danbury's Squantz Pond were all taken. An hour later, the same was true for Sherwood Island, in Westport, and electronic signs on Interstate 95 warned would-be swimmers that the parking lot was filled. Overflow lots at Milford's Silver Sands State Park were pressed into service. Parking became a luxury at Bridgeport's Seaside Park, too, and smoking barbecues and volleyball games filled the esplanade along West Beach.
Several thousand filled downtown Derby and Shelton Wednesday night as the two cities combined to fill the skies with a colorful 30-minute fireworks display.