Students in Fairfax and Montgomery counties will be let out of school early today, officials announced last night, as forecasters predicted another stifling day of temperatures in the high 90s.

District of Columbia, Alexandria, and Arlington and Prince George's counties school officials said they would decide this morning whether to close early.

Thermometers registered 98 degrees at Dulles International Airport yesterday, breaking the Sept. 6 record of 92 degrees set in 1980. Baltimore-Washington International Airport also registered 98 degrees, one degree higher than its 1954 record of 97.

National Airport's high point was 96 degrees at about 3:30 p.m., two degrees short of the record set there in 1954.

The Washington area was part of a heat wave that extended across the Mid-Atlantic states, according to the National Weather Service. Though searing temperatures will continue today, some cooling is expected tonight, with lows near 70 degrees in the city and around 60 in the suburbs. Much of the same is predicted for the rest of the week.

While Labor Day may mark the unofficial end of summer, forecasters pointed out that Mother Nature doesn't see it that way. It will still be summer until about the end of the month.

"When we're getting these readings in October, then we'll really get excited," said forecaster David Guston, who noted that temperatures in the 90s have been recorded in that month.

The elements will have a tough time breaking the D.C. record for today--104 degrees registered in 1881 by federal observers at a weather office at 24th and M streets NW.

Students at Fairfax County's more than 160 public schools will get out two hours ahead of schedule today, spokesman William McGinnis said. Montgomery County school spokesman Kenneth Muir said the county's 152 schools will send students home 1 1/2 hours early.

In both counties, morning kindergarten classes will be conducted on the usual schedule, but afternoon kindergarten will be canceled. School buses will be mobilized ahead of schedule to take students home.

Around the area air conditioners hummed. Pepco reported power consumption surged, though it was unclear whether it broke the 4,283 megawatt record set this past July 18.