The summer solstice brought not only the longest day of sunshine to the Washington area, but also temperatures in the high 90s that put the region under a two-day heat advisory.
As temperatures soared to a high of 97 degrees Wednesday and a projected 99 on Thursday, the National Weather Service placed the region under the advisory until 10 p.m. Thursday. The region also is under a Code Orange air quality alert -- unhealthy for sensitive groups.
It was a particularly oppressive day for anyone who had to walk around town wearing a coat and tie. Ben Curtis, originally from Nashville, Tenn., was one of those guys.
|Staying cool in the heat|
|The National Weather Service recommends:|
|• Drink plenty of water|
|• Avoid dehydrating fluids like coffee and soda|
|• Stay indoors|
|• Pay special attention to children, the elderly and pets|
|• Pay attention for signs of heat stroke and exhaustion, including hot and dry skin (no sweating), hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and/or slurred speech|
"Anything in excess of 10 minutes, it starts to get really warm," he said.
Some employers responded to the heat by providing cool treats for workers. Three women from the education nonprofit Turning the Page stood outside their office building on 14th street NW in the shade, enjoying melting bowls of ice cream.
"Sometimes [the heat] is a little oppressive here," one of the women said. "The humidity is really intense."
Pepco asked its electricity customers in Maryland and the District to conserve energy, although neither Pepco nor Dominion Virginia Power had any heat-related problems as of late afternoon Wednesday.
Metro is partially lifting its no-drinking ban and allowing passengers to drink water Wednesday and Thursday, and many public pools in the District will stay open longer this week. For those without air conditioning, many cooling centers in the region will be open.
A year ago, the temperatures reached only 80 degrees. Yesterday's temperatures are closer to record levels set in 1931, when the mercury reached 99 degrees.
"Today is one of the hottest days ever. Right now we're at the extremes," said 32-year-old Taiwo, who had been working on the corner of 15th and K streets NW all day Wednesday for the nonprofit Children International.
Taiwo, a Nigerian native now living in Silver Spring, said he is used to the heat but still takes precautions by drinking plenty of water.
"This is what's keeping me alive right now," he said.