The National Weather Service has issued an urgent message for the region, warning Washington, D.C.-area residents of excessive heat both Thursday and Friday.
The warnings are in effect from noon until 8 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 8 p.m. Friday.
Temperatures are expected to be around 100 degrees both Thursday and Friday, with heat index values of up to 111 degrees. The worst of the heat will be in the afternoon and early evening hours, according to NWS. The heat will be likely to carry over into the weekend as well.
NWS says an excessive heat warning means there will be a long period of dangerously hot temperatures. Additionally, the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will make for circumstances where heat illnesses are likely.
The record high temperature for Thursday is 104 degrees and for Friday is 103 degrees —both set in 1926 near what is now Reagan National Airport. Temperatures those days were 101 degrees in 1991 and 98 degrees in 1998 at Dulles International Airport.
Temperatures will cool back into the lower 90s for Saturday and Sunday.
The overnight hours will only bring limited relief, with temperatures between 75 and 80 Wednesday through Saturday nights.
Through Tuesday, temperatures in the Washington metro area soared to 90 degrees or higher on 13 days in July and nine days in June.
"We’re prepared for a higher volume of calls today, but we’re hoping the community heeds the advice to stay inside, stay cool and stay hydrated," said Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Morrison.
Morrison said some signs of heat exhaustion include
- Complaints of Light Headedness/Dizziness
- Altered Mental Status/ “Clouded Judgment”
- Rapid Pulse
- Extreme or limited amounts of sweating
To avoid injury or illness, he said, residents should
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
- Avoid outside activity as much as possible. If you have to do work outside, keep hydrated and take frequent breaks in a cool place.
- Wear loose fitting, light weight, light colored clothing
- Make sure pets are taken care of. Keep them inside in the cool, and don’t ever lock them in a vehicle, even for short periods of time.
Certain people are more susceptible to heat-related illness, including the elderly, young children and people who are sick or disabled. These groups should take special precautions when the mercury rises.
Older adults, however, may ignore heat warnings because they don’t consider themselves old, according to recent reports from MSNBC.
Where to Stay Cool in Town
- has several drop in classes and activities and events each day. It is open from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- , open 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Read, surf the web or attend one of the library's events.
- Grab a cool beverage at a coffee shop or restaurant in town.
- Catch a concert : Murphy’s Kids + Irresponsible + Mr. Dr. MC take the stage 8 p.m. Thursday.
- Head to the , which is now open 24 hours. On Thursday, the shop hosts ("Thursday night is record night--you bring them and we play them for an old school listening party") or be a live studio audience member for the shop's weekly show, Jelly Vision, with guest comic Mike Smith.
- On Friday, hang out at
- Head to Church Street to shop.
“There is plenty residents can do to stay cool, such as visiting a local library, taking in a movie, strolling through a shopping center, or visiting a community recreation center or senior center that is air-conditioned,” Merni Fitzgerald, Fairfax County government director of public affairs, wrote in an email to Patch. “Fairfax County has many air-conditioned facilities where residents can conduct county business, get educated or be entertained. Resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.”
Residents should try to spend the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned location, such as a local library, movie theater or mall.
Tysons Corner Mall is open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
And speaking of movie theaters: The crowds are now a little smaller for local showings of the summer blockbuster “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” Showtimes for Harry Potter and other movies at the AMC Tysons Corner, the Reston Town Center Cinemas
or the Regal Fairfax Town Center are available online.
Both Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria offer cooling assistance programs designed to help residents with electric bills and the purchase of air conditioners and fans.
Fairfax County residents may go here for more information. Alexandria City residents may call 703.746.5918 to get more information on the City’s Fan Care program or visit the Virginia Department of Social Services Energy Assistance Program website.
Keeping Pets Cool
Pets should not be left outside on very hot, humid days. Even with shade and water, pets, like people, can overheat.
Fairfax County Police offer the following tips for pets:
- Never leave pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels.
- Shade and water are vital to pets. Pet owners must provide adequate shelter protecting animals from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, and adverse effects of heat or cold. A dog house in the backyard with no access to shade does not protect animals from sun.
- Limit exercise on hot days. Take care to adjust intensity and duration of exercise. Watch for shortness of breath and remember that asphalt gets very hot and can burn paws; walk your dog on the grass if possible.
- Recognize the symptoms of heatstroke. If your pet shows signs such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, fever, dizziness, restlessness, excessive thirst and profuse salivation, contact your veterinarian immediately. Take steps to reduce the animal’s body temperature; apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest, provide water and ice cubes for hydration, and move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning.