- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

The heat wave that brought near-record temperatures to the region again yesterday will stick around for a while.
"We will have high temperatures in the 90s through the weekend and into next week. Right now there is no real break anticipated, so get used to it," said Jim DeCarufel, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.
The high yesterday was 98 degrees at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, a degree shy of the record set in 1999, according to the Weather Channel. The extended forecast for the rest of the week calls for temperatures at or near 100, with heat indexes ranging between 105 and 110 degrees.
In response to the heat, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory and heat warning for the area yesterday, and extended it until tonight at 8. The agency warned that heat exhaustion, cramps and sometimes heat stroke can result from prolonged exposure to the temperatures. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk for complications because their bodies are less able to deal with extreme conditions.
"A lot of [elderly people] live in apartment buildings without air conditioning and poor ventilation, and very young children are just not able to cope with the heat when it gets this hot outside," said Mr. DeCarufel, who is based in Sterling, Va., and monitors the Washington metro area for the National Weather Service.
Others are encouraged to limit outdoor activities and drink lots of water, or other nonalcoholic beverages. Alcohol consumption should be limited and light-weight clothing should be worn when at all possible, the heat warning says.
The summer of 2002 has been one of extreme heat and little rain, making the temperatures feel almost unbearable. So far this year, including three days in April, the D.C. area has seen 43 days of temperatures above 90 degrees. In an average year, the region will see 37 days.
"There is a persistent Bermuda [high pressure system] hanging out over the Atlantic that is pumping hot, humid air into the region, and there have not been many breaks in that this summer," Mr. DeCarufel said. "The exception was last week," when temperatures were in the low 80s with low humidity and light breezes, he said.
Once again yesterday, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments issued a Code Red alert, meaning the air was particularly bad.
To encourage motorists to conserve energy and cut down fuel emissions, trips on Metro buses and regional bus services in Maryland and Virginia were free. Metro buses in the District were regular fare.
Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for Metro, said the local jurisdictions reimburse Metro for the cost of the free rides. She couldn't estimate how much the program cost on a daily basis, but said the money is typically allocated in a similar fashion to that of winter weather equipment.
"We are happy to do it if the jurisdictions request it," she said. "They build this into their budgets just like they do for snow days, this is just the opposite extreme."

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