Weather from West turns up the heat

Records could fall this weekend

A warm front that scorched the middle of the country has made its way to the D.C. area, bringing with it blistering heat, sticky humidity and the strong chance of record-breaking temperatures this weekend.

The District is under an excessive heat watch thanks to temperatures set to push the mercury to triple digits for the first time this year, National Weather Service meteorologist Carrie Suffern said.

“We’re expecting hot and humid conditions this weekend,” Ms. Suffern said. “The air temperature for Friday looks like 99 to 100 degrees, and it’s not much better for Saturday and then Sunday. The heat index could be up to 110 degrees and into the low 100s for Sunday.”

The heat index could swing the temperature a few degrees one way or another, Ms. Suffern said, but “when it gets that hot, it just doesn’t make much of a difference.”

There’s a small cold front sitting along the coast, the lone chance for a slightly cooler weekend, but Ms. Suffern said there’s nothing in predictions to indicate any relief from the sweltering heat.

If the temperatures do reach 100 degrees or more, the area is set to break three local records in a row.

The record high for June 29 is 101, set in 1934. The warmest June 30 on record was in 1959 at 100 degrees, and on July 1, 1901, area residents sweltered in 102-degree heat.

The warmest day this year at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was June 21, when temperatures hit 99 degrees. The year’s lowest temperature was 17 degrees on Jan. 4, the only day the temperature dropped below 20 degrees. The coolest days this month were June 3, 5, 6 and 7, when overnight temperatures dropped to 58 degrees.

Despite the high numbers heading into July, the 75.2 degree average temperature for June is normal, Ms. Suffern said. In contrast, the July average is 79.8 degrees.

The past six months have been warmer than average. Last summer, however, was one of the hottest on record. In late July, temperatures also climbed into the triple digits, prompting the city to open cooling centers in libraries and recreation centers, and local power companies warned homeowners to avoid using larger appliances until temperatures dropped in the evening.

Cooling centers are once again open, pools are closing later at night, and Metro lifted its ban on drinking water on its buses and trains from Friday through Monday night.

For many people, weekend plans might involve a pool or air-conditioned movie theater, but officials with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival said they are planning for a solid showing at the festival site on the Mall.

“I think it’s tough to tell what the crowd size is going to be,” said Becky Haberacker, a spokeswoman for the festival. “When it’s hotter out, people tend to want to stay in the air-conditioning. But people love the Folklife Festival” and come down regardless of the weather, she said.

Ms. Haberacker said the festival’s biggest exhibits and venues are under tents. There are also free water stations and the festival’s marketplace and surrounding Smithsonian museums have air-conditioning.

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