extreme heat

Melting Yet? DC Area Hot, Humid Through Wednesday

The heat and humidity that rolled in over the weekend will be here in full force until at least Thursday, when rain chances will increase and temperatures will drop

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Heat and humidity is sticking around for the next couple of days.

Temperatures reached the low 90s Monday afternoon. It felt even hotter, with the heat index closing in on 100° in some places.

Heat Emergency

The District declared a heat emergency through Wednesday.

Cooling centers are open in D.C. through Wednesday after officials implemented the District’s Heat Emergency Plan. Go here to find a list of the facilities

D.C. opens cooling centers when the temperature or heat index is forecast to reach 95 degrees.

There’s concern about a phenomenon called heat islands in D.C. They're areas within the same proximity that get hotter than others. News4’s Mark Segraves reports it’s a matter of trees versus asphalt.

Heat Islands

Although it's hot everywhere in the D.C., research has shown that the temperature difference in one part of the city can be as much as 17 degrees higher than another part of town. Those areas, called heat islands, can be dangerous.

"When such extreme heat hits certain parts of the city, it's no longer a minor annoyance. It could be a life-changing, life-threatening event," Yesim Sayin Taylor, the executive director of the D.C. Policy Center said.

Neighborhoods in Northeast D.C. with few trees and more roads, parking lots and traffic are among the worst heat islands, while neighborhoods near Rock Creek Park in Northwest are much cooler.

"When you factor in the humidity in these places, heat can go up to 115 degrees heat index," Taylor said.

According to the D.C. Policy Center's research, residents living in heat islands are more likely to be elderly with preexisting health issues and without good health care, therefore, they're more susceptible to the dangers of heat.

Future Forecast

Tuesday will have much of the same heat and humidity, but with temperatures a few degrees higher and the chance of rain even lower.

Wednesday is looking to be the hottest day of the week, when downtown D.C. could come close to 100° even without factoring in the heat index. Rain chances on Wednesday to climb to 30% but are once again more likely to reach the higher elevations west of Dulles International Airport.

A cold front will try to break down this ridge of heat later in the week.

These summer cold fronts have a tendency to slow down as they come east, so there is a little uncertainty on whether it will arrive Thursday or Friday. For now, plan on Thursday afternoon reaching at least the low/mid 90s, but with a 60% chances of thunderstorms by evening. With that cold front slowly crossing our area, both Friday and Saturday could be a bit stormy at times, but with afternoon highs only in the low/mid 80s.

If you’re walking your dog, be aware of how hot asphalt gets. It takes only 60 seconds to burn a dog’s paws. With an 86 degree temperature, the asphalt reaches 135 degrees, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts said. 

Find other tips to cope with extreme heat online here.

Stay with Storm Team4 and NBC Washington for more details on the forecast. 

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