AP PHOTOS: Smothering heat wave settles over US

By The Associated Press | July 17, 2013 | 11:35 PM EDT

With the sun beating down, house painter Jesus Rubela climbs up a ladder while restoring a home in the South Boston neighborhood, Wednesday, July 17, 2013 in Boston. Temperatures in the Boston area reached the 90s, extending a heat wave. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A cross-country heat wave is buckling highway pavement in several states, exacerbating emergencies like broken water mains and making dangerous work more so for western firefighters battling wildfires. At least one person has died.

Forecasters say it'll be days before temperatures cool — and with the colder air will come the risk of severe thunderstorms.

Here are photos showing America — at work, at play and sweating all the while — during the hottest spell so far this summer.