- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Yesterday's hot weather forced some schools to close early, prompted officials to open cooling centers and drove scores of swimmers to seek relief at the Long Branch Pool in Silver Spring.
"It was unbelievably hot," said David Joseph, 13, of Silver Spring. "It was so hot, you started sweating when you go outside. I was internally sweating."
Long Branch is one of a few area pools open before summer begins June 21. Over the past two days, "it has been really busy" as people come to cool off and get a tan, said assistant pool manager Dale Sams.
The National Weather Service forecast another scorcher today, with expected high temperatures in the mid-90s and a heat index, which measures humidity, that will feel like 100 degrees. Today will be the fourth day this month to top 90 degrees, if the forecast is accurate.
Yesterday's high was 93 degrees at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, according to the weather service. The average high temperature for this time of year is 84 degrees.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) yesterday issued a Code Red heat advisory, meaning that the air quality is unhealthy and that children, senior citizens and people with respiratory problems should avoid outside activities.
COG has issued a Code Orange advisory for today, meaning that people with breathing problems should stay indoors.
A lack of air-conditioned school buildings yesterday prompted officials in the District to close schools at 1 p.m. and Prince George's County officials to close schools two hours early.
Prince George's County has 20 schools without air conditioning and 54 with partial air conditioning, said schools spokeswoman Athena Ware. Tomorrow will be the last day of school this year for county students.
No D.C. public school has air conditioning. The current school year ends Tuesday in the District.
D.C. officials yesterday implemented an emergency heat plan that included opening four cooling centers around the city to provide a place for residents without air conditioning. The centers are at One Judiciary Square, the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW, 25 M Street SW and 3720 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.
All emergency homeless shelters also serve as cooling centers.
A few public swimming pools are open in the District. The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation can provide the pools' locations and times of operation at 202/576-8884.
Despite so many residents using their air conditioners to keep cool yesterday, the Potomac Electric Power Co. and Dominion Virginia Power said the heat didn't cause any problems and they don't expect any trouble in providing enough electricity.
Pepco spokesman Charles Taylor said the utility doesn't expect to set any demand records.
Jeff Barnes contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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