DC activates heat emergency plan in anticipation of high temps, humidity

Humidity returned to the D.C. area overnight into Sunday morning, and will continue to rise along with the heat in the coming week.

Here’s what you need to know about the coming heat:

  • D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser activated the District’s Heat Emergency Plan for July 12 through July 14.
  • Scattered showers and storms, some of which could be severe, are expected through Sunday night.

Temperatures on Sunday topped out around 90 degrees, according to NBC Washington meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts.

A chance for scattered thunderstorms remains into the evening, with some potentially carrying heavy rain and strong winds.

The National Weather Service said the main threats are damaging winds, torrential downpours, and frequent lightning.

Conditions prompted Amtrak to issue a service advisory that trains traveling between D.C. (WAS) and Savannah, Georgia (SAV) “may experience delays along the route due to heat-related speed restrictions.”

Humidity chart
High levels of humidity are forecast for the D.C. region this week. (Courtesy NBC Washington)

“This entire week will feature temperatures in the low to mid 90s, with the heat index from the mid 90s to the lower 100s,” Ricketts said.

She forecasts mostly sunny skies across the D.C. area this week, with daily chances of storms.

“Most of these thunderstorms will be in the afternoon hours … any of the storms this week could be on the stronger side.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser activated the city’s Heat Emergency Plan Monday through Wednesday in anticipation of the high temperatures. The plan is activated when the temperature or heat index in the District is 95 degrees or higher.

Cooling centers will be available for residents seeking relief from the heat. Residents can find their nearest cooling center using an online interactive map.

Anyone who needs transportation to a cooling center can call the city’s shelter hotline at 202-399-7093.

Ricketts added that a cold front may move through next weekend, dropping temperatures back into the 80s and dropping humidity.


  • Sunday evening: Mostly cloudy. Warm and humid. A few widely scattered thunderstorms, some locally strong with a chance for heavy downpours. Temperatures falling through the 80s.

    Overnight: A few clouds. Muggy, warm, and uncomfortable. Lows in the low to mid 70s.


    Tuesday: Partly sunny. Hazy, hot, and humid. An isolated afternoon thunderstorm. Highs in the low to mid 90s. Heat Index near 100.


    Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Hot and humid. Scattered thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s to low 90s.

Current conditions:

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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