Soaking rains this week gave only brief pause to the ruthless drought endangering drinking water and killing crops across America, and forecasters say the dry spell isn't budging from the nation's Farm Belt anytime soon.

And adding insult to injury, heat-weary residents of the East looking for relief have only hotter days ahead.Showers and thundershowers Thursday and Friday cooled New England, the Middle Atlantic states, the lower Great Lakes, the Tennessee Valley and the lower Mississippi Valley.

Morning temperatures in the 40s and low 60s Friday broke or tied records in four Texas cities and in Missouri and Colorado as cool air from Canada comforted the drought-blighted central United States.

Nearly 3 3/4 inches of rain flooded parts of Wilmington, N.C., and lesser amounts dampened other North Carolina cities and parts of Texas, the National Weather Service said.

But weather forecaster Don Witten said Thursday that the "hot weather is expected to be intensified in the Midwest and the East" as the heat wave broiling the West spreads across the country.

Temperatures in the West soared again Thursday, hovering in the 90s across much of the area, with 100-degree readings reported as far north as Montana.

In Reno, Nev., the temperature hit 103, a record for the date, and a worsening drought prompted an advisory board to recommend drastic restrictions on water use starting Aug. 4, with heavy penalties of a $500 fine and six months in jail for violators.