Severe thunderstorms hit DC area as heat wave continues

The D.C. area will continue to sizzle through the weekend as temperatures barrel toward 100 degrees. After another scorching hot day, severe thunderstorms are rolling through the listening area on Saturday night.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings

  • There are currently no severe thunderstorm warnings in effect across the WTOP listening area.

The heat index, a combination of heat and humidity that impacts how hot it feels, will reach 110 to 115 degrees. The dangerous heat is expected to continue through Sunday.

These extreme temperatures could cause heat-related illnesses. Meteorologists advise people stay in air-conditioned areas if possible, and to check on neighbors, relatives and pets. When outside, stay in the shade and stay hydrated.

“Please take this seriously as heat illness such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are hazards for everyone, so practice heat safety,” StormTeam 4 meteorologist Steve Prinzivalli said.

People are escaping the heat in fountains all over the country as a heat wave barrels across the U.S. (WTOP/Steve Dresner)

Prinzivalli recommends wearing light-colored and lightweight clothing, and avoiding strenuous exercise. Never leave anyone, including children, or pets in parked cars.

While Sunday promises more sizzling temperatures, an approaching cold front may bring thunderstorms later in the day. Highs will finally fall back to the 90s on Monday.

Signs of heat illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has specific recommendations for the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Fainting

Under those circumstances you should move to a cooler location, loosen your clothes, lie down, apply wet, cool cloth to as much of your body as possible and sip water. If you continue to vomit, seek medical help right away.

Heat stroke

  • Body temperature above 103 degrees
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Fast and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

If you suspect heat stroke, call 911. Do not give fluids to someone experiencing heat stroke symptoms. Move the person to a cooler location and try to lower their body temperature using cool cloths or a bath.

Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, the CDC advises.

Keeping pets safe

If you must take your dog out for a walk, it’s important to remember that unlike those of us who are wearing shoes, your furry friends will feel the brunt of hot concrete or asphalt on their paws. StormTeam4’s Lauryn Ricketts posted this tweet showing how hot sidewalks or roads will get when it’s over 95 degrees out.

Cooling centers

Here are some information on cooling centers in your area.


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday that the D.C. Heat Emergency Plan has been activated. This goes into effect when the heat index passes 95. Cooling centers for residents and the homeless are open from noon to 6 p.m., with some outdoor pools, splash parks and shelters open laterView an interactive map of the District’s cooling centers.

D.C. residents can get more information on heat advisories at the District’s website.



Latest forecast

Saturday: Excessive Heat Warning. Dangerously hot and muggy.
Highs: Near 100
Heat Index: 110 to 115

Sunday: Excessive Heat Watch. Dangerously hot and steamy with the chance of late-day storms, some strong with gusty winds and downpours.
Highs: Near 100
Heat Index: 110 to 115

Monday: Partly sunny, warm and humid, with showers and storms likely.
Highs: Near 90
Heat Index: 90s

Tuesday: Morning clouds and showers, then some sun. Cooler and less humid.
Highs: Mid 80s

Torturous temperatures are not only uncomfortable, but they could even strain the power grid. A Pepco spokesperson recommended people turn their thermostats to 78 and leave them there.

While 78 may seem high, it’s much cooler than outside and reduces the strain on the grid, Pepco’s Christina Harper said.

Monitor power outages with this map:

Current conditions

WTOP’s Colleen Kelleher and Rick Massimo contributed to this report.

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