After 2nd day of brutal heat, DC region to get some relief, rain

High temperatures once again roasted the D.C. region on Wednesday, but the temperatures will cool off slightly on Thursday — though the relief comes with a pretty solid chance for rain.

Temperatures fall overnight Wednesday, with lows expected to be in the low to mid 70s, but scattered showers and thunderstorms will move through the region. Some of those storms could be strong, so use caution if going out in the evening.

“Expect a few isolated thunderstorms this afternoon, mainly north and west of D.C. A few of those storms could be on the stronger side, if they do develop,” said Storm Team4 Meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts.

During the daytime highs, some areas in the region reached a heat index in the lower 100s by the middle part of the afternoon. At its highest, D.C. reached a heat index of 104 degrees, according to Storm Team4 Meteorologist Doug Kammerer.

Some thick haze associated with smoke billowing from Canadian wildfires impacted the region’s skies as well, according to NBC Washington meteorologist Matt Ritter.

A Code Orange Air Quality Alert for Wednesday was issued for the Baltimore metropolitan area by Maryland’s Department of the Environment.

Ricketts said she expects more clouds will fill in overnight as temperatures dip into the 70s, before Thursday morning temperatures climb into the upper 80s. Extra cloud cover will prevent the region from reaching the same temperatures it experienced on Tuesday and Wednesday.

She added that spotty showers are expected for Thursday morning, especially west of the District, with more rain to come after lunchtime.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa are due to pass to the south and east of the D.C. region late Thursday night into early Friday morning.

Ricketts said she expects rain chances to increase through the afternoon and evening on Thursday and continue into the overnight hours on Friday. Heavy rain is possible, especially east of I-95.

“Most of the heavy rain from Elsa should push out of the region by daybreak on Friday; however, we will keep some scattered showers and thunderstorms through Friday afternoon,” said Ricketts.

She expects the D.C. area to remain humid on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures nearing 90 on Friday.

The National Weather Service said there is a “slight severe storm threat” for Friday and Sunday, with possible “scattered severe storms.”

Staying safe in the heat

The National Weather Service and the Maryland Department of Health advise people to drink fluids, stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen, seek air conditioning when possible and check up on relatives and neighbors during extreme heat events.

Children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles.

Try to do any strenuous outdoor activities or work in the early morning or evening, the National Weather Service suggests.

But if you have to work or spend time outside, wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, take frequent breaks in air conditioning and know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Signs of heat exhaustion:
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
Signs of heat stroke:
  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness

More information on how to handle heat-related illnesses can be found on the CDC website. Find a local cooling center in Maryland online. D.C. offers an interactive map for open cooling centers.

WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report. 


Wednesday night: Scattered showers and storms, mainly before midnight. Otherwise partly cloudy, mild and muggy. Lows in the 70s.

Thursday: Partly to mostly cloudy and not as hot, still humid, scattered afternoon showers, storms and rain. Rain at times overnight from remnants of Elsa. Highs in the 80s.

Friday: Partly sunny and humid. Chance for afternoon showers and storms. Highs in the mid to upper 80s.

Saturday: Partly sunny and nice. Highs in the low to mid 80s.

Sunday: Partly sunny and nice again. Isolated afternoon storms are possible. Highs in the 80s.

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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