On what could be 2008's hottest day yet, even more Philadelphia-area schools will be sending students home early.

Saturday hit 94 degrees, Sunday 95 and yesterday 97, but today's top temperature is expected to top out at 99.

So the record of 97, set in 1964, seems likely to fall - just before some needed rain does.

The rain, however, is expected to come in the form of evening thunderstorms, with possibly heavy rain and damaging winds.

That should break the unseasonably steamy spell, with temperatures the rest of the week topping out in the low to mid 80s.

More than 30 school districts, including all Philadelphia public and parochial schools, will close by lunchtime or soon afterward today, according to online lists.

Some of the reported early-dismissals in Pennsylvania: Centennial, Central Bucks, Coatesville, Haverford, Lower Merion, Neshaminy, North Penn, Phoenixville, Springfield (Delaware County), Tredyffrin-Eastown, Upper Darby and Upper Dublin districts.

On the Jersey side, these districts also reportedly have abbreviated schedules: Burlington Township, Camden, Gloucester Township, Haddonfield, Haddon Township, Lawnside, Lindenwold, Maple Shade, Medford Lakes, Oaklyn, Pine Hill, Pitman, Rancocas Valley, Somerdale, Stratford and Woodlynne.

For more details or to check for a specific school, go to that school's Web site or check: http://www.nbc10.com/closings/index.html.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.