Rarely has it been this hot, on America's birthday.
The crowds that usually make an all-day affair out of celebrating the Fourth of July on the National Mall trickled in slowly throughout the day.
The scorching heat catching visitors like Greg Doerfler from Greenbay, Wis., off guard.
"I'm used to seventies, eighties as a high," he says. "It's 92. I'm ready to melt like the snowman that I am."
A heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday night. And the temperature was up to 99 degrees by 4 p.m. Click here for the latest weather info.
Many did what they could to fight the heat. Umbrellas were the "in" accessory Wednesday. And the few sprinklers scattered along the mall added much relief.
But sun worshippers weren't phased - nor were those committed to get a great view for the fireworks.
"You'll see a few slivers and then it's completely light up the sky and it's wide," says Bethesda resident Sam Kessler. "Easily the best view of anywhere."
With hundreds of thousands expected to converge on the Mall, there's heightened security as always. Each reveler is screened and armed officers are on constant patrol. But the people who came to the Mall didn't mind the beefed-up security.
"The police presence definitely makes you feel safer out here," says Dave Royer.