Dang, that was hot. The temperature at BWI at Baltimore-Washington International (breathe here) Thurgood Marshall Airport climbed to 95 degrees yesterday afternoon. That was only a degree shy of the record for the date - 96 degrees set back in 1999.
But that doesn't tell half the story. I was riding around in the afternoon looking at 111 degrees on my car thermometer (it eventually cooled to 102 degrees). It was 94 on the WeatherDeck, and to 99 degrees at the Maryland Science Center. And away from the harbor, the sensors at The Sun's weather station at Calvert & Centre streets soared to 100 degrees at 3:37 p.m., a pretty good indication of what it was like downtown.
What was it like? It was very humid, and the sun was relentless, turning a venture outdoors into a stroll through a runaway steambath.
My son and I sought some quiet time together, so we headed out onto the Gunpowder in the kayaks. The river water is still quite cold, and where the hot, humid air hung over the cold water in the shade, it condensed, producing a beautiful low fog. We were very comfortable on the water, even chilly when the shade and the breeze were right. There were flocks of swallowtail butterflies, a gaggle of geese, several blue herons that flew ahead of us as we cruised from Monkton to Phoenix. Kingfishers chattered, and we spotted a deer bolting into the brush. A beautiful day, until we had to haul out and sit in the sunshine waiting for our ride out. Whew!
While we set no new temperature record at BWI, they tied one down at Reagan National Airport, matching a 98-degree reading on the same date during the heat wave in 1999.
Today promises more of the same. The forecast high for BWI is 97 degrees. That would tie the 1999 record here. There's a small chance of some isolated showers and thunderstorms south of the city once things get cooking in the afternoon and the hot, humid air at the surface starts to rise. Heat index values, if you pay attention to such things, will be over 100 degrees. There are heat advisories up for the entire area, shown in orange on the map at left.
UPDATE: Looks like the high today at BWI was "only" 93 degrees. It was 97 and change at The Sun's weather station.
But the storms, if you get one, will provide only temperary relief. Monday looks like the worst day of the lot, with a forecast high of 99 degrees at BWI. That would set a new record for that date. The old one is 98 degrees, set in 1933.
There is some relief in the cards. The big high-pressure system that has been pumping this hot, humid weather up from the south and west is moving slowly east. Behind it there's a cool front, and the collision of hot and cooler will raise our thunderstorm chances on Tuesday, and lead in slightly less-hot temperatures - in the mid-90s Tuesday, and the mid- to upper-80s from Wednesday into the weekend. Normal highs for this time of year at BWI are in the low 80s. We're still a month away from the highest average highs of the year.
Okay, so it's hot. We all know that. The important question is, "How are you keeping cool this weekend?" I told you about our paddle down the Gunpowder.
Aside from burning money in your air conditioner, how are you keeping the sweat off your brow ? Are you among the 49,000 BGE customers who lost power in the storms south of the city yesterday? How are you coping with that? Are you new to Chesapeake summers? Can you believe this stuff? Leave a comment and let us know how you're faring in this steam bath.