Triple-digits expected again in sweltering season
Washington's scorching summer will kick into high gear this weekend, when the region's infamous humidity could push misery levels into uncharted territory.
Saturday's high is expected to hit 101, with the humidity making it feel as hot as 115 degrees, according to Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at Accuweather.com.
Two daily temperature records already were set in June, and Saturday could mark another record-shattering day -- the high for the date is 96 degrees, set in 1987, he said.
"That's going to be the real stifling day," Walker said. "It looks to be an above-average summer for D.C."
Washingtonians have endured 38 days of at least 90 degrees this year, including two in April. That trend looks pretty certain to continue for the next few days, said Jared Klein, a forecaster with the National Weather Service -- but this time it will be different.
"Unlike the last heat wave we had ... it's going to be a little bit more humid," he said. "It's going to feel a lot muggier."
Wednesday offered a brief "respite" from the heat, with temperatures reaching "only" 92 degrees downtown.
But downtown worker Toby Kearn said the worst of the heat has been on the Metro.
"I don't understand why the Metro chooses sometimes to refrigerate some cars and not others," he said.
The crippling heat and humidity can cause far more than just discomfort, however. There have been at least 13 heat-related deaths this year in Maryland, at least five in Virginia, and one in the District.
Heat-related deaths in Maryland "> Year Number 2010 13 2009 6 2008 17 2007 21 2006 43 2005 48 2004 5 2003 1 2002 1 Source: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 90-degree days » July: 15 » June: 18 » May: 3
"Yes, this is a hotter-than-usual summer," said David Paulson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Since July 1, the department has recorded more than 700 visits to emergency rooms for heat-related illness or dehydration, he said.
Nationwide, 24 children have died after parents left them in their cars unattended, AAA Mid-Atlantic warned.
"It's important to remember that temperatures inside a car on a day with outside temperatures in the mid-to-high 90s can quickly soar to nearly 200 degrees," said John B. Townsend, a spokesman for the auto club. "That is hot enough to cook many foods and to kill most living things."
With more heat, police can expect more crime, said D.C. police spokesman Nicholas Breul.
"As always, during the summer months we recognize that there are more people out there, are more events, the days are longer ... that all sort of plays into a general rise in crime during the summer months," he said.
There have been 68 homicides in the District this year, though Breul said that he did not notice any heat-related crime trends so far and that violent crime is actually down.
The heat is sending air conditioning repairmen into overdrive.
"As you can kind of expect, over the last six-seven weeks it's been busier than normal," said Eric Tessel, marketing supervisor for CroppMetcalfe, a local heating and air conditioning company. "We've been busy this entire summer."
Aside from staying in air conditioning, keeping hydrated is key, said Jerrod Washington, a UPS truck driver who was moving boxes Wednesday with a sweat on his brow.
"Gotta drink a lot of water. If you don't drink a lot of water, you will have a real problem on your hands," he said. "No water, you die."
Washington Examiner intern Liz Essley contributed to this report.