- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Today’s triple-digit temperatures broke records at all three major local airports this afternoon.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport recorded a high of 102 degrees, which topped the 101 degree record set in 1930.

Temperatures at Washington Dulles International Airport reached 101 degrees, which beat the 1980 record of 98 degrees.

And at Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport set a new record at 102 degrees beating the previous record of 99 set in 1980.

The heat wave left residents sweating through the ninth consecutive day of 90-degree temperatures in the Washington area, which might not some relief until this weekend, meteorologists said.

Jim Decarufel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, said a cold front moving into the area from Canada should bring temperatures down to the mid-90s tomorrow and Friday. He said by the weekend highs should be in the high 80s and likely will peak at 90 degrees.

“We’re probably not going to break another record,” Decarufel said. “We’re looking for a frontal system to move into the area.”

The high temperatures tomorrow and Friday are expected to be in the mid-90s. Forecasters said a cold front should bring temperatures down to the high 80s by the weekend.

Decarufel said rain storms could also bring some relief to parts of western Maryland, but probably will not reach the metropolitan area. There is a 20 percent chance of showers tomorrow night in the region.

“It’s not looking good right now, but there’s always hope,” he said.

Linda Foy, spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., said the utility’s 2007 seasonal hourly usage record was broken yesterday in central Maryland.

The 2007 record of 6,629 megawatts, set June 27, was broken when the company recorded usage of 6,739 megawatts, Foy said. A typical summer day peaks at about 5,500 megawatts.

Foy said officials expected the new record to be broken again today possibly even topping the all-time record of 7,200 megawatts from Aug. 3, 2006.

Local construction companies said weather has caused them to make adjustments to keep workers productive.

“Today we wanted to get everyone off the roof by noon,” said Tim Alvarez, a project manager at Function Enterprises Inc., a commercial roofing company in Springfield.

“Most of our guys get used to the heat, but it is way too hot now and it’s beginning to slow down production,” Alvarez said.

Some companies have resorted to starting work earlier in the morning or sending workers home early.

“Most of our subcontractors are sending their employees home early today so they can get out of the heat,” said Rich Pfau, safety director at Donohoe Construction Co., a general contractor in the District. “Our workers normally start at seven in the morning, but today they started at six, when its cooler out.”

The District closed its vehicle inspection station in Southwest at 1 p.m. and reminded residents to take advantage of the city’s four cooling centers.

Metro and the Fairfax Connector also offered free rides to certain passengers such as senior citizens.

Metro riders experienced delays throughout the day as the transit agency ran trains at about 45 mph on above-ground tracks as a safety precaution, since excessive heat can cause tracks to bend, officials said. Trains normally run at a top speed of 59 mph.

Delays worsened when a suspicious package was found on a train at the Dupont Circle station, prompting authorities to close the station as well as the Woodley Park and Cleveland Park stations.

Hundreds of passengers had to wait outside in the heat for shuttle buses during the afternoon rush.

The stations reopened about 5 p.m. after the package was determined not to be a threat.

Bryce Baschuk contributed to this story, which is based in part on wire reports.

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