People try to cool off as they sit around the fountains at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden July 6, 2010 in Washington, DC. Temperatures soared across the upper East Coast today with temperatures in the nation's capital reaching 102 degrees Fahrenheit. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The heat wave broils on.
Reagan National Airport tied broke its record-high temperature for the day with 102 degrees. The previous record of 99 was originally set in 1991.
The District also hit the 100-degree mark at noon Tuesday. D.C. has reached the century mark seven times in the past 10 years, according to NBC4 meteorologist Tom Kierein, but three times this year. The high reached 102 degrees by 4 p.m. but fell short of a record for July 6 -- 103 degrees at Ronald Reagan National Airport set in 1999.
The region's weeklong heat wave will continue through Wednesday as temperatures flirt with (and even surpass) 100 degrees with increased humidity and advisories remain in effect. Highs should drop into the mid-90s Thursday. Whew!
That enormous area of high pressure continues to bring more hot and dry weather to the entire region, according to Kierein. Temperatures will approach 100 degrees across the region by mid-afternoon Wednesday. The temperature topped out at 99 degrees Monday at Reagan National Airport before climbing to 102 on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch from Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday evening. Heat index values may hit 105, and those may contribute to heat-related illnesses or even fatalities.
Wednesday is currently being listed as a Code Orange air quality day, despite talk of it being a Code Red day. When conditions reach Code Red, that means everyone -- especially children, older adults and anyone with respiratory or heart conditions -- should limit strenuous outdoor activity because the air is unhealthy to breathe. AirNow.gov is a great resource for those who want to explore air quality indexes in more detail. And if you need to escape the heat, check the list of cooling centers across the region.
Almost 1,000 customers were without power in the Washington area Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The outages are affecting residents mostly in northeast and southeast Washington, according to Pepco's website. Outages are also being reported in Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. Power companies urged residents to conserve energy as high temperatures continue to affect the region.
At the U.S. Naval Academy, four midshipmen who had just completed an obstacle course are receiving medical attention after exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, officials said. First responders at the academy were called about 10 a.m. to assist four midshipmen who had completed an endurance course that included climbing cargo netting and jumping over logs, the AP reported. First-year students at the academy are currently undergoing six weeks of training before school begins. About 1,200 students are in the first year class. It was not clear if the individuals were part of the first year class.
In Baltimore, state health officials moved 150 residents out of a hot nursing home and were investigating Wednesday why operators didn't report a broken air conditioner that caused temperatures inside to top 90 degrees, according to the Associated Press. The air conditioning stopped working sometime Saturday on the residential floors of the Ravenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, said Nancy Grimm, director of the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality, which oversees nursing homes.
No one reported the problem until a resident called 911 shortly after midnight Tuesday, Grimm said.
"That was not the way we would like to hear" about such a problem, she said. The office can fine the nursing home or revoke its license for endangering the health of patients, but she stressed that the investigation was just beginning.
Ravenwood and its parent company did not immediately respond to messages left by the AP Wednesday.
The is also counting thousands of cars among its casualties. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday AAA Mid-Atlantic roadside assistance had responded to more than 3,400 calls from distressed and stranded motorists in the region a 24-percent increase compared to July 7, 2009.
The heat affected service on Metro's Red Line late Tuesday afternoon when a "heat kink" between New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue forced trains to run at 5 mph, down from 35-40 mph, according to Metro. More "heat kinks" are likely as the heat wave continues.
CSX, which owns the tracks along MARC's Brunswick and Camden lines, issued heat orders slowing traffic on those lines from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday because extreme heat can cause welded rail to bend or kink.
Trains on both lines operated 20 mph under the normal maximum authorized speed, but not less than 40 mph. Maryland Transit Administration officials said signal and switch problems caused further delays on the Camden line.
Cargo vans canvassed downtown Washington in an effort to hydrate the homeless. Vince Blackson, who drove one of six vans for the nonprofit United Planning Organization, helped hand out more than 40 bottles of cold water to homeless men and woman scattered throughout city parks.
An 11-year-old record was broken at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport with a temperature of 104 degrees at 3 p.m., the National Weather Service reported. The previous record for July 6 was 101 degrees in 1999. At Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, where the temperature had reached 99 at 3 p.m., the previous record of 102 was set in 1977, the AP reported.
There will be an increase in humidity Wednesday, which also could increase the chances for some much-needed rain in the days ahead. There is a chance by the end of the week for some relief in the form of passing showers and thundershowers.
As our lawns can attest, we definitely need some rain. The brown, crunchy grass just doesn't jive with all of those cookouts.
In June, Reagan National Airport recorded 1.87 inches of rain, which was 1.26 inches below average. And for the year, there has been just 13.6 inches, making us 6.11 inches below average. And yes, that includes the precip from the blizzards.
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