- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2002

A cold front from Canada will provide a few days of cooler weather and relief from a six-day stretch during which temperatures in the Washington metropolitan area climbed above 95 degrees, weather officials say.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Travers said a front that was making its way from the Great Lakes and traveling over Pennsylvania yesterday should reach the area by this morning, creating "quite pleasant" temperatures in the low to mid 80s and low humidity for most of the week.

"I think everyone is going to be able to breathe a little easier over the next few days," Mr. Travers said.

The cooler weather will end six consecutive days of temperatures above 95 degrees in the Washington area only the 10th such stretch in 130 years of record keeping.

Temperatures yesterday reached 96 degrees. On Friday, temperatures reached 100 degrees for the first time in three years. The weather service says the average high temperature at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for this time of year is 86 degrees.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there have been five heat-related deaths in the state since the heat wave began July 31. Department spokesman J.B. Hanson said most of the deaths occurred in conjunction with pre-existing health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or hypertension.

Since June 2, 36 persons in Maryland have died from heat-related illnesses, with more than half of them, 21, in Baltimore. Three persons died in Montgomery County and one in Prince George's County.

Prince George's County police are investigating whether an Oxon Hill woman found dead in her apartment yesterday died of heat exposure.

Shirley Brody, 51, was found in her home in the 1300 block of Southview Drive. Family members said the air-conditioning unit in her home had been broken for a week.

The death toll from the heat so far this year more than doubles the total for all of last year. In all of 2001, 15 persons died from heat-related illnesses in the state 10 of those in the month of August. The 36 deaths so far are the highest number since Maryland began tracking cases in 1999. Health departments in the District and Virginia could not provide figures for heat-related deaths.

Pepco spokesman Bob Dobkin said power has been restored to all but about 500 customers in Prince George's County and the District after violent storms Saturday toppled trees into power lines across the region.

"They're just getting down to the last small groupings," Mr. Dobkin said. He said he expected power in the remaining homes to be restored yesterday afternoon just in time for another round of possibly violent thunderstorms that will accompany the cold front.

About 400 customers in Southeast just had their power restored yesterday morning after periodic outages since Thursday. The high demand for power caused a cable and a conduit to fail, causing outages concentrated in a triangular area of Southeast between 17th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Potomac Avenue.

"I can't stand too many more nights that way," said Gerald Brevard, who had no power at his house on 16th Street SE for much of the weekend. "All I did was toss and turn. I opened the windows, but no breeze was stirring."

Mr. Brevard, 60, bought a generator yesterday just in case the outages should continue.

Mr. Dobkin said utility crews finished replacing a 75-foot section of cable at the site yesterday and will continue monitoring the situation.

"The biggest concern is the fix be permanent," said Bill Fecke, who lives on Kentucky Avenue SE. "None of us are going to feel comfortable until it's up for three days in hot weather."

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