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Chocolate dipped with sprinkles

With the heat index in Manhattan at 100 degrees, I declared an ice cream break this afternoon. A group of us bugged out of the newsroom a little while ago to hit the Mister Softee truck at the corner of 49th Street and 6th Avenue. It not only satisfied our collective craving for something cool, but hopefully also provided a shot to the local economy.

There was an item in the New York Times reporting that sales of Mister Softee ice cream are actually down this summer. In case you're not familiar with them, Mister Softee trucks are a ubiquitous part of the Manhattan landscape, and operate primarily in the Northeast. However the prolonged heat wave may have gotten the best of them this year. According to the man who manages Mister Softee distribution, it's been too hot this summer for New Yorkers to venture out. Can you believe it, too hot for ice cream? He speculates folks are either holed-up in their air conditioned homes or at the pool. Apparently other ice cream companies are also reporting a slump in sales. On behalf of the Weekend Nightly News staff let me simply say we stand ready to do our part to help the ice cream industry stay afloat (did somebody say ice cream float?).

The weather, on several fronts is our big story today. First, former Tropical Storm Bonnie has weakened, allowing containment vessels and personnel to start returning to the oil operation in the Gulf. The storm may have fizzled but it still cost them valuable time in their efforts to "kill" the well. Then there is the oppressive heat gripping not just the Northeast, but parts of the South and Midwest. On top of that the Midwest has been clobbered by violent storms that dumped more than seven inches of rain in the Chicago area and triggered severe flooding.

We've also got a update to a story we first reported here last Saturday about the surge in pets being turned into Louisiana animal shelters by owners who have landed on hard times because of the oil disaster. I think you'll like how this is turning out.

I hope where ever you are you are staying cool today. Thanks for checking in and we'll see you tonight on NBC Nightly News.