Most of the nation baked in hot, dry weather Wednesday, prompting water conservation measures in many areas of the East and burning bans in the Midwest.
In New England, residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island sweltered in a lingering heat wave, defined as three consecutive days of 90-degree temperatures, National Weather Service forecaster Lyle Alexander said.
The temperature reached 98 degrees in Boston, the highest reading there in nearly four years.
Government leaders imposed restrictions on water consumption, such as lawn watering and car washing, in suburban Rochester and throughout New England.
Residents Face Fine
In New Jersey, residents of Toms River faced a $1,000-fine if caught watering their lawns, washing their cars or otherwise using water unnecessarily.
In Hilton, N. Y., Mayor Larry Gursslin complained that water pressure was so low at times that "you can't even take a shower or flush a toilet."
Twenty-seven cities in 13 states either tied or set record highs. Syracuse, N. Y., had a 97-degree reading, shattering a 1972 record of 92 degrees; Hartford, Conn., reported 97 degrees, beating a 95-degree record in 1957, and Newark, N. J., tied its 1945 record of 99 degrees.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a warning that the heat wave had contributed to "unhealthful" levels of air pollution from Connecticut to Acadia National Park in Maine.
Rain in 3 States
Meanwhile, rain fell in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, but the weather service said it would not be enough to make up for weeks of dry weather as the drought in the nation's midsection continued.
Near Greenville, Miss., about 750 barges were backed up Wednesday on the Mississippi River because of low water, and the Army Corps of Engineers said twice as many could be stranded by the weekend.
In Wisconsin, C. D. Besadny, secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources, said an emergency burning order would ban all types of outside fire, including cigarette smoking, in parts of the state, beginning Saturday.
Indiana Gov. Robert D. Orr declared an emergency fire hazard area in his state Wednesday. The order bans the outdoor burning of trash, leaves and debris in most communities. A similar ban was issued for much of Michigan by Gov. James J. Blanchard.
Residents of the northern Ohio community of Clyde hired a Sioux medicine man to perform a rain dance for their withering crops.
Florist Cliff Doebel said he had persuaded Leonard Crow Dog from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota to come to his town to perform a rain dance ceremony beginning Sunday.
Ohio also was the site of a prayer service in a parched farm field Tuesday. About 225 people gathered at the farm of Gerald and Joanne Lowery south of Fostoria in the northwest part of the state for the interdenominational service.
"President Reagan isn't going to send us rain," Gerald Lowery said. "We've got to get it from upstairs."