- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2006

Another heat wave is rolling through the Washington area, forecasters say.

Temperatures across the region are expected to climb into triple digits until Thursday, and local officials are advising residents to find ways to beat the heat.

Meanwhile, local utilities expect an increased demand for electricity as consumers try to stay cool. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is urging its customers to conserve power to help avoid a supply crisis.

Temperatures will be as much as 15 degrees higher than normal, and the humidity could make it feel like a sweltering 115 degrees, officials said.

The National Weather Service reports that the average daytime temperature for the first week of August in the D.C. area is 88 degrees.

A large air mass of high pressure — the same one that hovered over California last week and the Midwest earlier this week — has moved into the area, said James Brotherton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“We have a very strong area coming over D.C. this week,” he said. “[Yesterday] was just a steppingstone. The run of the high heat is going to come on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”

The weather service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area.

Daytime highs are expected to reach 100 degrees today and 105 degrees tomorrow.

“[This weather] can have very severe impacts on people as well as pets and livestock,” Mr. Brotherton said.

“It’s an especially an extreme danger for the most sensitive groups of people like the elderly and people who may not have air conditioning.”

The weather service said evening temperatures will be in the upper 70s.

Daytime temperatures are forecast to drop to the low 90s by Friday.

Montgomery County firefighters and emergency medical technicians handed out bottled water at the Silver Spring Metro station yesterday to remind people to stay hydrated during the heat wave.

Senior centers took precautions to ensure the safety of their clients.

Hollin Hall Senior Center in Alexandria moved all of its outdoor activities inside, and is providing air-conditioned rooms.

Pimmit Hills Senior Center in Falls Church is trying to cancel certain activities so that seniors will not have to spend time outside waiting for transportation.

“A lot of seniors are transported by a minibus service, so some of them will be on the bus for an hour or so,” said Joyce Lin, who works at Pimmit Hills. “We’re just trying to limit how much time the seniors spend outside.”

Localities are spreading messages about hot-weather safety.

Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County fire department, said many seemed to have heeded the advice of health departments to stay indoors and move all outdoor activities to the early morning hours.

Officials recommend drinking lots of fluids, wearing loose, light-colored clothing and finding shade.

Sunshine will magnify the heat and increase the risk for heat-related illnesses, officials said.

The most common heat-related illness is heatstroke, Mr. Brotherton said.

Heatstroke disables the body’s normal mechanisms for coping with heat stress, such as sweating and temperature control, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Web site (www.mayoclinic.com).

On Sunday afternoon, with temperatures in the mid-90s and high humidity, 12 persons taking part in an international Scout jamboree in Harford County, Md., were taken to hospitals for treatment of heat-related illnesses.

Forty others were taken to cooler surroundings, officials said.

None of the illnesses was considered to be serious, county officials said.

Over the past two days, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens has imposed mandatory water restrictions in the northern part of the county after a water main break on Saturday night further depleted an already stressed supply.

Further water restrictions were issued yesterday because of the excessive heat forecast, the water main break and the recent loss of water supply from Baltimore County.

The restrictions prohibit outdoor water use, such as watering lawns and plants and filling pools.

Mrs. Owens urged all county residents to conserve water indoors by turning off the tap while shaving and brushing teeth.

To help conserve energy during the heat, officials recommend closing blinds on windows to keep the air cool, refraining from using major household appliances until nighttime when it’s cooler and turning off nonessential electrical appliances.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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