Storms Try To Cool Off D.C. Region

Not only is the D.C. region dealing with sweltering heat, we also have to worry about severe storms this evening. Hopefully rain will break the heat wave.

The National Weather Service expanded its severe thunderstorm watch to include most of the D.C. area Thursday evening as a line of scattered thunderstorms passed through the area.

The storms came after we tied the record high for June 9 -- 102 degrees -- and set a record on Wednesday with a high of 99 degrees. The record for June 9 was set all the way back in 1874. It's the oldest record still standing for June.

Thursday also was a Code Orange air quality day. That has nothing to do with heat, but rather with air pollution collecting in stagnant air. Pollution levels will be harmful to children, older adults and anyone with a respiratory or heart condition.

NBC Washington meteorologist Tom Kierein said this unusual early-season heat wave is more dangerous now than at other times of the year because we are not acclimated to the heat yet.

In an average year, heat is the No. 1 weather killer, Kierein said -- more than tornadoes, storms and lightning.

So when will we get a break? It looks like some relief will begin on Saturday. Highs on Saturday and Sunday will be in the 80s, with even lower humidity in the area next week. Highs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should be in the low to mid-80s.

Until then, try to stay cool and stay hydrated. Avoid being outside for long stretches of time during the hottest parts of the day. That doesn't mean noon, by the way. Yesterday's high was set at 3:13 p.m.

More heat-related tips:

  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juices to prevent dehydration -- be aware that alcohol can impair the body's sweat mechanism, as can fairly common medications such as antihistamines and diuretics;
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes;
  • Avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade or by wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses;
  • When possible, stay in air-conditioned areas. If your home is not air-conditioned, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library. Contact your local health department to see if there are cooling shelters open in your area;
  • NEVER leave pets or young children in a car, even with the windows cracked;
  • Check on elderly relatives or neighbors at least daily; and
  • Take it easy when outdoors. Athletes and those who work outdoors should take short breaks when feeling fatigued. Schedule physical activity during the morning or evening when it is cooler.

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