Published: Jul 06, 2010 10:48 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 06, 2010 7:16 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Meteorologists say temperatures could reach as high as 102 degrees Tuesday in some parts of the East. New York City plans to open several hundred cooling centers in air conditioned public buildings. The masses returning to work after the holiday threaten to stress utilities across the Northeast.

Monday, about 17,000 Northern New Jersey residents lost power for more than four hours. The outage forced customers out of Grant Halliday's overheated restaurant.

"We can't cook. We have no air conditioning. All the refrigeration is down," said Halliday.

The extreme temperatures aren't just uncomfortable, they can also be dangerous. Already this year, heat is being blamed for more than a dozen deaths along the eastern seaboard.

The very old and very young are at especially high risk.

"they have less ability to tolerate the extremes of temperatures, the extremes of dehydration," said Dr. Alton Barron of St. Luke's Hospital.