But the sweltering season was well underway Wednesday, posing dangerous conditions and requiring people to take precautions.
The National Weather Service put a heat advisory in effect from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday. Temperatures hit the mid- to upper 90s, and felt like 100 to 105 degrees. The forecast calls for another scorcher on Thursday. Another heat advisory goes into effect from noon to 10 p.m. Thursday.
The heat prompted D.C. to activate a Hyperthermia Alert at 10 a.m. Wednesday, urging people to stay inside. People without access to a cool spot can call 311 to find out where the District’s Cooling Centers will be located.
ABC7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff recommends taking advantage of all the free air-conditioned museums in D.C. for those looking for activities with the family.
Those who are unable to regulate their body’s temperature in conditions around 105 degrees or greater can suffer from confusion, delirium, seizures, can lapse into a coma or even die, says Shady Grove Adventist Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Jonathan Wenk.
The signs of heat-related illness vary, Wenk says. They include nausea, headache, painful involuntary cramps, acting confused or if the skin is cool and dry to the touch instead of sweaty.
“Those are some of the serious signs,” he says, and an indication that it’s necessary to call 911.
After summoning help, try to move the person into a cooler environment indoors or into the shade. Have the person drink something if he is awake, or pour cool water on the person or his clothing, Wenk says.
Children are especially vulnerable in this weather, he says, since they create more heat with body activity and don’t sweat as much as adults.
“If they’re having fun playing outside, children are not inclined to take a break or stop and get a drink of water,” says Wenk.
The air quality is Code Orange, which means sensitive groups, such as children, older people and those with respiratory and heart conditions should limit outdoor activities because of harmful pollution levels. The Metropolitan Council of Government’s Air Quality Action Guide recommends people refuel their vehicles in the evening, try not to drive alone and put off lawn care or using gas or electric grills.
Wenk recommends those who have to work outside “drink plenty of cool liquids to stay hydrated.”
Local utilities are encouraging customers to conserve energy during the heat wave by delaying use of heat-generating appliances until after 9 p.m. This includes ovens, dishwashers and dryers. Customers are also encouraged to turn off all non- essential appliances and electronics and to keep their curtains and blinds closed.
When operating ceiling fans, turn them on with the blades rotating counter- clockwise. Use a microwave or an outdoor grill instead of the toaster oven or oven.