August 8, 2011

More Hot-in-Baltimore contestants fall in heat


Tubing the GunpowderHot-in-Baltimore Contest update: Baltimore (BWI) recorded 36 days of 90-plus heat through Aug. 5, 2011. The new total surpasses the annual average of 29.4 days, with many weeks to go before the risk of such weather dwindles to zero.

A few more contestants have been eliminated. The current leader, who guessed we’d see 36 days hit 90 degrees or more all year, is “rubinsjw.”  Through Aug. 5 last year, BWI had recorded 43 days in the 90s. The eventual total was a record 59 days.

(SUN PHOTO: Kenneth K. Lam, July 2011)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Heat waves

August 2, 2011

90s streak could end Wednesday

The long, long stretch of 90-degree weather Central Maryland has endured since July 17 looks like it will come to an end Wednesday. National Weather Service forecasters in Sterling, VA. are predicting a high Wednesday of just 85 degrees at BWI-Marshall Airport.

BWI temperatures July That would cap the streak at 17 days, including Tuesday, the third-longest consecutive string of 90-degree weather for Baltimore since record-keeping began. In all, July delivered 24 days with 90-plus weather, a record for any month in Baltimore.

After another high Tuesday near 95 degrees, with lower humidity, relief will come to us Wednesday in the form of a "potent" low-pressure system and a cold front. It's expected to reach the area after sunset Tuesday, and should deliver some significant rainfall on Wednesday.

The weather service puts the rain chances Wednesday at 50 percent, with as much as a quarter inch possible. Higher totals are possible in thunderstorms. A few isolated storms could be strong to severe, forecasters said.

Daytime highs will remain in the upper 80s through Saturday, if the forecasters have it right.  The 90s could return to the forecast by Sunday, and more showers and storms are possible during the weekend as the next cold front approaches.

Last night's storms brought plenty of thunder, but widely variable amounts of rain to the region. Here are some representative totals from the CoCoRaHS Network:

Havre de Grace:  1.66 inches

Salisbury:  1.17 inches

College Park:  0.81 inch

Easton:  0.55 inch

Baltimore City:  0.38 inch

Sykesville:  0.35 inch

Jacksonville:  0.35 inch

Towson:  0.22 inch

Pasadena:  0.20 inch

Columbia:  0.10 inch

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Forecasts, Heat waves

July 29, 2011

104 downtown; Heat Index 109 degrees

The NWS thermometer at BWI-Marshall Airport has reached 101 degrees at 5 p.m. That's a new Baltimore record for the date, beating the previous mark of 99 degrees, set in 1954. The Heat Index is 105 degrees. Sterling says that will be the max for today.

The station at the Maryland Science Center shows 104 degrees. The Heat Index is 109.

It was 102 degrees at The Sun's weather station at Calvert and Centre streets at 5 p.m.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:05 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: By the numbers, Heat waves

BWI ties record at 99 degrees

UPDATE, 4 P.M.: The 4 p.m. reading at BWI was 100 degrees, setting a new record high for Baltimore on a July 29. It was 103 downtown, with a Heat Index of 109 degrees. Ho hum...  Heat Index this time last week was 120 degrees.

Earlier post resumes:  

The temperature at BWI-Marshall Airport reached 99 degrees at 2 p.m. today, tying the Baltimore record for the date, set at the airport in 1954. The Heat Index was 105 degrees.

It was 101 degrees at the Maryland Science Center at 2 p.m. (Heat Index 108), and 99 degrees at The Sun's weather station, at Calvert and Centre streets.

It was 101 degrees at Reagan National, breaking the 99-degree record set there in 1993. Dulles International Airport reported 99 degrees, breaking the 97-degree record set there in 1993.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:04 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: By the numbers, Heat waves

Bake-off resumes: Mercury headed for record 101

Forecasters say the mercury is headed for at least 101 degrees this afternoon, both downtown and at the airport. That would make it the 13th consecutive day in the 90s or above, and the fifth day this summer that has reached 100 degrees or more at BWI-Marshall Airport.

It was already 94 at BWI at 11 a.m.

Fortunately, the air is expected to dry out a little by this afternoon, easing the humidity. But the AccuWeather.comweather service still predicts Heat Index values of 105 to 109 degrees.

Here are some milestones to watch for:

1. The record high temperature for Baltimore on a July 29 is 99 degrees, set in 1954. It's one of only four remaining dates in July with a record high of less than 100 degrees. So we seem destined to break that one. Washington and Dulles airports also are forecasted to set new heat records today.

2. The seven-day forecast calls for 90-degree weather through at least next Thursday. Saturday would be the 14th straight day in the 90s or more, matching the third-longest 90-degree streak in Baltimore's weather record book. By next Saturday, if the run persists, we'll match the second-longest streak, at 21 days. The all-time record is 25 days, set in 1995.

The only break in sight comes with a weak cold front, expected to pass through this evening. Some of us may get under a few scattered showers and storms. The best chances are for locations near the Mason-Dixon Line. Any storms that do emerge could produce damaging winds.

Beyond that, there is no rain in the forecast through at least Thursday.

"The region could use ... a good, soaking rain," forecasters said in this morning's discussion. "Unfortunately, this pattern won't be one that can do that. Precipitation will be spotty at best Saturday."

The only good news in the 7-day forecastis that dew points will go down a bit by early next week, "alleviating the mid-Atlantic needing Heat Advisories. But with all the heat the cities [have] stored, low temperatures in Balt/DC will remain in the upper 70s."

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:39 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Forecasts, Heat waves

July 26, 2011

Three more dead in Maryland heat

Maryland health authorities have identified three more deaths in which heat was found to be a contributing factor.

An elderly woman in Baltimore, and two middle-aged men in Somerset and Prince George's counties, became the latest of nine Marylanders whose deaths have been attributed, in part, to high temperatures. Underlying illnesses also were a factor.

All three died last week, according to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Two of the three died during Heat Advisories, in which Heat Index readings reached 105 degrees or more.

In addition, 478 people complaining of heat-related illnesses were taken to Maryland emergency rooms from Tuesday to Saturday last week. The ER traffic peaked at 115 people seen on Friday. Temperatures reached 106 at the airport Friday, and 108 degrees in downtown Baltimore. Both were the highest readings on record for each location.



Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

New transmission line put into service just in time


Hot in BaltimoreAs bad as the heat was, and as problematic as the Peak Rewards cutoffs were for many on Friday, things could have been worse. As it happened, the PJM Interconnection, the 12-state power grid that serves Maryland, had just (in May) put the new Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line (TrAIL) into service, bringing in added power from Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. PJM says the 500-kilovolt line made an extra 1,000 megawatts available to I-95 cities that was not available last summer.

(PHOTO: Rob Carr, Getty Images)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Heat waves

July 22, 2011

Unhappy with BGE's Peak Rewards Program?

The Sun has received scores of phone calls today from BGE customers whose homes became unbearably (or at least uncomfortably) hot today as their air conditioning compressors were cycled Heat Baltimoreon and off by the utility. Many were then even more irked by their inability to reach anyone at the utility who could field a complaint.

Nine people phoned in complaints to the Public Service Commission.

BGE responded by moving everyone on the program to the 50 percent level for the rest of the emergency.

What do you think? Is the Peak rewards Program a bust because, in extraordinary weather like this, our homes (I'm a Peak Rewards customer, too) get hot when BGE cyles the AC?

Or, are we wimps for not being able to endure a little heat in a program that we signed up for, and for which we have received payments ever since, whether it was activated or not?

(PHOTO: Ron Carr, Getty Images)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 7:58 PM | | Comments (61)
Categories: Heat waves

Official high for Baltimore: 106 degrees at BWI

The offical high temperature for Baltimore Friday was 106 degrees at BWI-Marshall Airport. That broke the 101-degree record for the date, set in 1957. It was also the highest temperature ever at the airport. The previous record was 105 degrees,  reached twice before, on Aug. 20, 1983 and July 6, 2010.

The high reading at the National Weather Service's unofficial station at the Maryland Science Center was 108 degrees. That is the highest temperature ever recorded in downtown Baltimore, beating the 107-degree record set on July 10, 1936.

But the 108-degree downtown reading won't go into Baltimore's record books because, since 1950, the station of record for Baltimore has been at the airport. Offically, Baltimore's highest temperature remains 107 degrees, in 1936.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:55 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: By the numbers, Heat waves

Heat climbs to 107 downtown; Heat Index 120 degrees

The National Weather Service instruments at the Maryland Science Center at the Inner Harbor were reporting a temperature of 107 degrees at 3 p.m. Friday. The Heat Index - what it feels like with the humidity inhibiting our ability to cool off by sweating - was 120 degrees.

That ties the all-time record high temperature for Baltimore, recorded downtown on July 10, 1936. Sun weather stationBut because the official weather station for the city moved to the airport in 1950, today's Inner Harbor reading won't go into the record books.

The official reading for Baltimore at 3 p.m., out at BWI-Marshall Airport, was 104 degrees, with a Heat Index value of 117 degrees. That breaks the record for the date, 101 degrees, set in 1957. It's also the hottest official temperature for Baltimore since ... well, since last year. It was 105 degrees on July 6, 2010, and on four other dates since record-keeping began in 1871.

That said, the afternoon is still young, and we could still get higher readings at either station. Stay tuned. And stay cool.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: The 4 p.m. reading at BWI was 105 degrees. It's the second summer in a row that we've reached a 105-degree high at the airport, and the sixth time since record-keeping began the official high for Baltimore has been that hot. They are:

Aug. 6 and 7, 1918 (downtown)

June 29, 1934 (downtown)

Aug. 20, 1983 (BWI)

July 6, 2010 (BWI)

July 22, 2011 (BWI)

Only one other date has topped it. It was 107 degrees in downtown Baltimore on July 10, 1936.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:53 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: By the numbers, Heat waves

UM in Baltimore asked to curtail power consumption

The University of Maryland in Baltimore has been asked to curb its power consumption Friday afternoon due to the high temperatures. Officials at BGE said the request came from the PJM Interconnection (not BGE itself, as suggested here earlier).

PJM is the power grid manager that serves Maryland and all or parts of 12 other states, and it has asked large institutions participating in its Long Lead Time Load Management program BGE to curtail power usage this afternoon because of the heat. The move makes it easier for PJM to balance supply and demand across its system. 

Also, BGE has activated its Peak Rewards program, cycling 453,000 participating residential customers' air conditioners and water heaters to reduce the local on the local segment of the grid. That, too was done at the request of PJM. NWS

Here's part of the school's message to UM in Baltimore employees.

"Facilities will reduce the load on our cooling systems automatically, but we need your assistance to reduce our load by turning off non-critical lighting and electrical devices, walking up or down two floors rather than using the elevator, and scheduling discretionary equipment usage for earlier or later in the day.


"Your assistance is important in helping the utilities meet their critical loads during periods of extremely warm or extremely cold weather that exceed the generating capacity of the power companies and help us avoid importing high cost power from other areas of the country or needing to endure brown outs or black outs of power."


Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:14 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Heat waves

July 21, 2011

Into the oven today, 104 downtown Friday...

Everybody into the pool! There will be no better place to be for the next three days if you have to be outside.

Forecasters are warning that we're facing three days with high temperatures reaching 100 (BWI) to 104 (downtown) degrees. Add the humidity arriving from the Deep South, the Gulf and the Atlantic, and we're Real Feelexpecting daytime Heat Index readings of 110 to 115 degrees.

Excessive Heat Warnings, Code Orange Air Quality Alerts and Code Red Heat Alerts in Baltimore are all in effect.

And we're unlikely to see much relief overnight. The high moisture content in the atmosphere will slow overnight cooling. The weather service says overnight lows may not drop below 80 degrees, with Heat Index numbers of 90 degrees or more.

Rain chances are slim, just 20 to 30 percent from Friday through Sunday. But with the high humidity, any scattered storms that do develop could drop some torrential downbursts, like the one in Baltimore two days ago.

And all this heat will, of course, be threatening the Baltimore records for the period:

Thursday, July 21: Record high, 104 degrees, set 1930. Forecast high: 100 degrees 

Friday, July 22:  Record high 101, set 1957. Forecast high: 102 degreesCooling off

Saturday: July 23: Record high, 102 degrees, set 1991. Forecast high: 100 degrees

We could also break records for highest minima - the warmest low temperatures for the date. But the forecasts are all in the 70s, while the records are mostly in the 80s. The one exception is Saturday, July 23. The record high minimum for the date is 79 degrees, set in 1978. The forecast low for the date is 78.

As I write this at 11:40 a.m. Thursday, The Sun's weather station at Calvert and Centre streets reads 96 degrees. The dew point (always suspiciously high) is 83 degrees, for a very unofficial Heat Index reading of 123 degrees.

At BWI Marshall Airport, the official temperature is 92, with a dew point of 76 degrees, for a Heat Index value of 104 degrees.

At the Maryland Science Center, the temperature is 96, with a dew point of 76 degrees, for a Heat Index value of 109 degrees.

(SUN COOL-OFF PHOTO: Brian Krista Ezequiel Herrera, Patuxent Publishing)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:08 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

July 20, 2011

Excessive Heat Warnings posted for Maryland

Downtown Baltimore could see high temperatures of 99 to 102 degrees over the next three days, according to the National Weather Service. Conditions at BWI-Marshall Airport won't be detectably better, with forecast highs of 99 to 101 degrees. High dew points will help drive the Misery Index beyond 110 degrees.

2010 blizzard BaltimoreThe weather service has issued Excessive Heat Warnings for the entire state east of Allegany County on Thursday and Friday afternoons, with Watches on the Lower Eastern Shore. "The excessive heat will likely carry over into the weekend as well," forecasters said.

The Excessive Heat Warning means the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will create conditions where heat-related illnesses are likely. Anyone who needs to be outdoors will need to drink plenty of fluids. We're all going to be better off indoors, with air conditioning. And if you have any friends, relatives or neighbors trying to cope without AC, please do invite them to your place to cool off, or help them get to the mall or one of the area's cooling centers.

Air pollution alerts, Code Red heat alerts in the city ... expect them all to be in force through Saturday. This is going to be brutal. Even Garrett County is finally under a Heat Advisory for Thursday, with Heat Index values expected to reach 100 to 103 degrees on temperatures in the low 90s.

It doesn't look like we'll set a new record for Baltimore on Thursday. The record high on a July 21 is 104 degrees, set downtown in 1930. The airport is now the official station of record for the city, and the forecast high there is only 99 degrees. Thursday's forecast high downtown is 99 degrees.

Friday may be a different story. The Baltimore record for a July 22 is 101 degrees, set in 1957. The forecast high for the airport is also 101 degrees. So, they're actually predicting a tied record for Friday. 

On Saturday, the record for the date is 102 degrees, set in 1991, with an airport forecast of 100 degrees. The downtown forecast calls for another day of 102-degree misery.

The week is certainly living up to its statistics. It's the hottest of the year, on average. But these highs are 10 degrees or more above the norms.

Relief, of a sort, comes Sunday as highs slip back into the 90s. But we'll have to wait until another cold front goes by early next week before we can expect more seasonable highs, in the upper 80s.

Oh. The photo?  Just trying to help cool you off.

(SUN PHOTO: Karl Merton Ferron, Feb. 11, 2010) 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:22 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

July 18, 2011

Maryland heads into the fryer this week

Hope you enjoyed the seasonable temperatures and low humidity over the weekend, because we are so done with that now.

Forecasters say Marylanders will be seeing temperatures and humidity rising all week, threatening Hotthe 100-degree mark by Thursday afternoon and topping it on Friday. We can count on another string of bad air days, too. Maryland west of the bay and east of Hagerstown is already under a Code Orange Air Quality alert today, meaning air pollution is expected to reach levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

"This is genuinely hot air coming, with dew points somewhere around 70 degrees. Excessive heat watches may be needed by midweek," National Weather Service forecasters said in today's morning weather discussion.

And why not? On average, this is the hottest week of the year for Baltimore. The average daily high is 88 degrees. Daily record highs are all above 100 degrees from the 14th until the 29th, when we see our first record drop back to 99 degrees.Heat wave

The culprit is our old summer friend, the Bermuda High. High pressure centered off the Atlantic coast by Wednesday spins clockwise, pumping hot, humid air our way from the Gulf of Mexico.

But first, we're looking at a forecast high for BWI-Marshall Airport today of 94 degrees. A cold front to our north is bringing some showers and thunderstorms to Pennsylvania later today, and we may see some clouds drift in from that later today. By tonight, showers and thunderstorms could reach communities in the northern and northeastern sections of Sterling's forecast area. Some could become severe, posing risks of flash flooding in the urban corridor. But the computers can't agree on the exact timing or severity of the storms. We don't need severe weather but we can sure suse the rain. 

The weak cold front will deliver slightly cooler air for Tuesday, with a forecast high of 91 degrees and some lingering chance for showers at BWI. But that's just the starting point for steadily rising temperatures and humidity throughout the week and into the weekend.

The forecast calls for temperatures to reach 92 again Wednesday, then pop into the upper 90s to near 100 degrees Thursday and Friday before slipping back to 97 on Sunday. There's a small chance for some showers Sunday, too.

A high of 102 on Friday would break the Baltimore record for the date - 101 degrees, set in 1957.

Anyone ready for November?

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:18 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Forecasts, Heat waves

July 13, 2011

Any showers today will be the last until next week

Temperatures have already reached 90 degrees before 11 a.m. at The Sun's weather station at Calvert and Centre streets. And forecasters out at Sterling are expecting a high of 94 downtown today.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: The high at the Inner Harbor just before noon Wednesday was indeed 94 degrees. The showers that rolled through dropped the mercury from 89 degrees at 3 p.m. to 79 degrees at 4 p.m.

But that's likely to be the last of the 90s for Central Maryland until early next week. There's a cold front stretched from West Virginia to southern Pennsylvania this morning, and it's going to sweep July temperatures BWIacross the state this afternoon, preceded, perhaps, by some scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially in Southern Maryland, where they can really use the moisture.  

The frontal passage will open the door to some cooler and drier air out of the northwest. By Thursday afternoon we should be a couple of degrees below the long-term averages for Baltimore at this time of year - in the mid-80s. Nighttime lows will drop into the 60s, with some readings in the 50s in the highlands to our west.

Tuesday's high temperature at BWI-Marshall Airport reached 93 degrees. That fell well short of the 97-degree record for the date. The weather service spent much of the day backtracking from earlier forecasts we'd reach 98 or 97 degrees.

Curiously, it ws the fifth day this month with a high of 93. We've also had 11 days that averaged above the long-term daily norms, and one that matched the average. BWI has seen only 8 days since June 1 with temperatures below the long-term daily averages.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:49 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

Hot weather causes electric bills to swell


It’s hot, and time again for BGE bills to remind us that cooling our homes costs money. The utility said seven days of 90-plus weather in June, and seven more in July will help jack up everyone’s electric bills this month.

They don’t say how much. That’s hard to calculate since electric commodity prices have fallen. But cooling can account for half our energy use in summer. So brace yourself when that green and white envelope shows up. And check into BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program.

(PHOTO: BGE handout)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Heat waves

June 12, 2011

People die, their predictions live on


Washington DC, 1925Weather can humble you, even after you’re dead. On July 1, 1925, James H. Spencer, who headed the U.S. Weather Bureau office in Baltimore, looked over his June record books and told The Sun: “There will not be another June like the one just past, for centuries.” Temperatures in Baltimore had reached 101 once, and topped 90 degrees 13 times — eight in a row. The month averaged 78.7 degrees.

The record stood for just 85 years, until June 2010 averaged 78.9 degrees.

UPDATE and CORRECTION: Statistics can humble you, too, even when you're alive. An alert reader checked my "facts" and called with a correction. The hottest June on record for Baltimore was June 1943, which averaged 79.8 degrees. It was NOT June 2010, which actually comes in second, at 78.9 degrees. So Mr. Spencer's bold prediction fell even shorter. It lasted for just 18 years. And I need to get my glasses checked. 

(SUN File photo, 1925)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:01 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Heat waves

June 11, 2011

Those Oakland forecasts just seemed too hot


Oakland forecastsAlert reader Menalcus Lankford wrote to say that our print weather map for Maryland “seems quite confused about Oakland in Garrett County.”  The temperature forecasts we’ve been reporting are much higher than for nearby towns. “Please correct these … absurd predictions.” We checked, and sure enough, has been posting forecasts for the wrong Oakland, Md. Turns out there are five, in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Caroline, Garrett and Prince George’s counties. It’s been fixed. 


Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:01 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Heat waves

June 10, 2011

Sure it's hot, but is it REALLY bothering you?

Here's something for WeatherBlog readers to toss around today:

air conditionerIt's REALLY, REALLY hot outside. It's the second 90-plus heat wave of the season, and it's not even summer yet, officially. Humidities are stifling and Marylanders who don't have, can't afford, or don't want air conditioning, and have to wait, in the oven-that-is-Baltimore, for a bus, are truly suffering.

But let's face it, in what is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, most of us probably have AC at home, AC at work (if we have work), and AC in our cars. If you fall into this lucky category, you spend - what? - five minutes a day in the heat, walking from home to car, car to workplace, etc, etc.

Let's hear from those people. Have you effectively banished Chesapeake Summers from your lives through the magic of HVAC? Can you mostly ignore it? Do you thank your lucky stars each night when you step in that door? Or is it a struggle and a worry to keep it running?

Can we simply hope for a day when everyone, from Baltimore to India, Brazil and China can afford the pleasures of air-conditioning, and then mix another Mai Tai and drink to the geniuses at Trane and York and Carrier? Or is there more to consider?

(SUN PHOTO: Kenneth K. Lam, 2005)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:16 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Heat waves

June 8, 2011

Heat advisory prompts Baltimore to open 2 city pools

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the city will open the Druid Hill and Patterson Park pools Wednesday and Thursday. Hours are 3-8 p.m. The pools have been open on the weekends since Memorial weekend, but the high temperatures and humidity have prompted the weekday opening.

"In addition to the Cooling Centers open throughout the city as part of our Code Red plan, the large park pools will provide an opportunity for young people and families to stay cool and safe," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.

Admission is $1.50. For more information, call (410) 396-3838.
Posted by Kim Walker at 2:40 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves

June 7, 2011

Baltimore County schools announce early dismissal

Baltimore County will close schools 2 hours early on Wednesday due to the excessive heat and humidity in the forecast. There will be no afternoon kindergarten.
Posted by Kim Walker at 4:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves

Heat Advisories posted for Central Maryland

The National Weather Service has posted Heat Advisories for Central Maryland, effective from noon through 8 p.m. Wednesday. The forecast says temperatures will be in the mid-90s, with Heat Index values - a measure of the expected combined effect of heat and humidity - as high as 105 degrees.



Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:18 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves, Watches and warnings

May 29, 2011

Heat Advisory issued for Monday, Tuesday

Temperatures in Baltimore are headed for the mid-90s on Memorial Day and even higher on Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for the entire region, effective from noon Heat AdvisoryMonday through 8 p.m. Tuesday. 

The Heat Index, combining the effects of temperature and humidity, will be in the upper 90s Monday, and between 100 and 105 degrees on Tuesday. The Heat Index numbers do not just give us more reason to complain about the heat. High humidity makes it more difficult for the body to cool itself by evaporating sweat from the skin, increasing the risk of overheating and of heat-related illnesses - in effect, making it feel hotter than it is.  

The Baltimore City Department of Health on Sunday evening declared a Code Red Heat Alert for the city on Monday and Tuesday. The city will open cooling centers across the city and begin reaching out to vulnerable populations.

Here are more details on the Baltimore Code Red program. Here are the locations of cooling centers and other resources. In the meantime, please check on friends, family and neighbors who are without air conditioning.

And, just to make things interesting, there's also a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for the Baltimore metro region. From the Maryland Department of the Environment:


Here's more on staying cool and being cool during a Heat Alert in Baltimore:

Continue reading "Heat Advisory issued for Monday, Tuesday" »

Posted by Frank Roylance at 8:43 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Heat waves

May 27, 2011

Baltimore releases Code Red Heat Alert Plan

As we enter summer-like conditions this weekend, the city has released its Code Red Heat Alert Plan. When health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot declares a Code Red Heat Alert, the city will open emergency cooling centers, which will provide cool air and free water.

From the city's release:

The Community Action Program will operate five centers on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays:
• Northern Community Action Center -- 5225 York Road
• Southern Community Action Center -- 606 Cherry Hill Road (inside the shopping center
2nd floor)
• Northwest Community Action Center -- 3939 Reisterstown Road
• Southeastern Community Action Center -- 3411 Bank Street
• Eastern Community Action Center – 1400 E. Federal Street
The Office of Aging & CARE Services will operate five additional cooling centers on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
• Waxter Center -- 1000 Cathedral Street
• Oliver Center -- 1700 Gay Street
• Sandtown-Winchester Center -- 1601 Baker Street
• Hatton Center -- 2825 Fait Avenue
• John Booth -- 229 1/2 S. Eaton Street
• Zeta Center -- 4501 Reisterstown Road

Last summer, 919 patients entered city emergency departments with heat-related illnesses, according to the health department. Nearly one-third of patients were 65 or older, and there were 9 hyperthermia-related deaths.

For more information on the cooling centers, call 311 or visit


Posted by Kim Walker at 12:28 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

September 27, 2010

Region's electricity use sets summertime record

PJM InterconnectionWe know it was hot - a record summer for Baltimore and Washington. And, we know our electric bills were high as we cranked the AC all summer trying to stay cool. Now, the PJM Interconnection - the power grid managers for 13 eastern states and DC - say the region set a record for electrical demand during the summer just ended.

Consumers used almost 203.7 million megawatt-hours of power during June, July and August. That, they say, is enough electricity to run the entire country of Mexico for a year.

The total was 12 percent higher  than the summer of 2009, which was unusually cool. And it blasted through the previous summertime record, 203.4 million megawatt-hours, set in 2005.

The demand was 37 percent higher than the average demand, and 47 percent higher than last summer, the PJM folks said.

The PJM region extends from Illinois to New Jersey, and as far south and North Carolina.

(AP PHOTO: George Widman)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:18 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Heat waves

August 9, 2010

July redux ... heat and humidity return

If you liked July's weather in Central Maryland, you're going to love this week's forecast. The National Weather Service is calling for highs in the 90s all week - straight through next Sunday, if they're on target.

That would bring the total of 90-plus days this year to an even 50 by next Sunday, just four short of tying the record of 54 days, set in 1988. Once we reach the 90s today, the total will stand at 43. The 30-year average for BWI is 29.4 days.

Ninety-degree days:

NOAA/NWSApril:  2July temperatures BWI

May:  3

June: 16

July:  20

Aug. (so far): 2


This week's heat is expected to rise to near 100 degrees by Wednesday, when the forecast high is 97. Rising humidity will push the Heat Index numbers into triple digits. Temperatures will approach record daily highs Tuesday and Wednesday. The best chance for matching a Baltimore record will be Tuesday, when the record is 100 degrees, set 110 years ago, in 1900.

This is killer weather. Please check on vulnerable friends, family and neighbors. Be sure they have access to air conditioning.

It gets worse. The Maryland Department of the Environment has declared a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for today, Monday, throughout Central and Southern Maryland - from Frederick County east to Cecil and south to St. Mary's:



Once again you can blame the heat on a persistent Bermuda high in the western Atlantic. Clockwise circulation around the high will be drawing Gulf heat and humidity into our region through the middle of the week.

Then we'll see the next "cold" front pass by, bringing us increased chances for some showers and thunderstorms late Wednesday and Thursday. But temperatures won't cool down much at all. Sterling is calling for highs in the low 90s from Friday through the weekend.


(SUN PHOTO: Karl Merton Ferron, 2004)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:28 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Heat waves

August 4, 2010

The heat ... it's back

It's back into the 90s for Central Maryland. The National Weather Service has posted Heat Advisories for all of Central, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore (orange on the map), effective from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. The forecast high for BWI-Marshall is in the mid-90s. with high humidity. That will NOAA/NWSpush Heat Index numbers to near 105 degrees.

This afternoon's high at the airport reached 92 degrees, with dew points oppressive in the mid-70s. Friday, too is expected to top 90 degrees, with a forecast high of 92. If they're right, it will bring the count of 90-plus days this year to 44. The record is 54 days.

The weekend looks a little cooler (but still above average for the dates), with highs in the upper 80s, before temperatures push back into the low 90s early next week.

Once again, you can blame high pressure off the East Coast for sweeping all this warm, moist air north from the Gulf. Scattered thunderstorms Wednesday or Thursday could drop up to two inches of rain on some locations.

But we'll need a cold front, due late Thursday into Friday, to bring real relief. Temperatures won't drop dramatically, because winds from the west will be heated as they move down off the Appalachians. But it will be noticeably less humid, forecasters say.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 4:53 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Heat waves

July 23, 2010

Like crabs in the steamer

Here we go, dear readers, staggering into what could well be some of the hottest, steamiest couple of days this summer. First, the warnings:

NWS HOTExcessive Heat Watch: posted for Saturday in Baltimore, Southern Baltimore County, Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church. The Watch means that a prolonged period of excessive heat is expected. And:


NWS HOTHeat Advisory: The heat Advisory is in effect from noon Friday until 9 p.m. It covers all of Maryland from the Potomac to the Mason Dixon Line, and from Washington County east to Harford County. Again:


NWS HOTCode Orange Air Quality Alert: The Maryland Department of the Environment has declared (another) Code Orange day. It covers The urban corridor from Baltimore to D.C., and suburban counties from Carroll to Harford, and south to St. Mary's.


How bad does this weather stink, folks?

Just look at this forecast for downtown Baltimore: A high today of 97 degrees (it's already 93 at 11 a.m.), with humidity driving the heat index number to 101 degrees. (It's harder to evaporate sweat when the humidity is high, and so it's harder for your body to cool itself. Hence, the effect of the heat on your body is the same as if it were 101 degrees.)

Saturday's forecast calls for a high of 99 degrees at BWI-Marshall, and 100 degrees downtown, with a heat index as high as 107 degrees in the city and 105 at the airport. The record high for the date is only 97 degrees, last reached back in 1987. So it seems we're headed for a new record high for the date at BWI.

And, since Sterling's forecasts frequently undershoot the actual temperatures, we may well go higher than 99. Keep this in mind: The all-time record high temperature for Baltimore is 107 degrees. Just sayin' ... 

The long-range forecast looks better only by comparison. Sterling is calling for highs in the low- to mid-90s to continue through at least next Thursday. If so, that would bring us to 15 straight days in the 90s at BWI (we stand today at 9), and 43 days so far this year at 90 or above (today makes it 37). The average for a year in Baltimore is 29.4 days.


(SUN PHOTO: Kenneth K. Lam, 2008)


Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

July 22, 2010

Hot. Hotter. Hottest. How's your AC?

Today marks the eighth straight day of 90-degree-plus weather at BWI-Marshall, the fourteenth such day this month and the thirty-sixth so far this year. So how's your AC holding up?

You'd better hope it's in fine shape, because the next few days will be killers. Perhaps literally.

UPDATE 1:00 p.m. Thursday: The Baltimore City Department of Health has declared Code Red Heat Alerts for Friday and Saturday. Cooling centers will be opened across the city. Call 311 for times and locations. At 2 p.m., the NWS issued Heat Advisories for the region from noon to 9 p.m. Friday.

Forecasters out at the NWS forecast office in Sterling are predicting a high today (Thursday) of 93 degrees at BWI-Marshall Airport, and that was the reading at 3:45 p.m. For reference, it was 91 at Tefe, in the Brazilian Amazon. It may not feel as awful here; the air is a bit less humid. But it goes downhill from here.

Friday is expected to reach a high of 96 degrees at the airport as we come under the influence of Heat forecast mapthat Bermuda High in the western Atlantic Ocean. Humidities will rise, pushing heat index readings into the 95 to 105-degree range. There's only a slight chance for a cooling overnight shower before Saturday.

And Saturday will be the worst day of the week (see map). High temperatures at BWI are forecast to push into triple digits for the sixth time this summer, with even less cloud cover for shade than on Friday. Humidities will be high, driving heat index readings into the 100 to 110-degree range. You had your AC system serviced this spring, right? Good.

Watch for heat advisories, Code Red advisories and such. You know the drill by now. Just stay inside or go where it's cool. The jogging, the roofing, the post-hole digging can wait.

Eric the Red, a professional meteorologist from Baltimore who kept us ahead of the bad news during last winter's snowstorms, says it will be a memorable day.

"I am beginning to think Saturday might end up being one of the worst - if not THE worst - day of the summer. Temps will likely exceed 100 degrees yet again, but this time 'round our dew point may very well be in the lower 70s [oppressively humid]."

Eric sent along the temperature forecast map above. "This is NOT the max. temp. forecast, but rather a snapshot," he said. "I suspect the highest readings will be a bit above what the graphic shows. Ouch."

There's more from Eric below. Click on "Continue reading..."

While we're on the subject, BGE today issued (and later recalled) a press release warning customers with central AC that the electric bills they receive in the next few weeks will reflect the extra energy used during the persistent heat of recent weeks. Some bills may double, the utility said. 

The torture continues.

Continue reading "Hot. Hotter. Hottest. How's your AC?" »

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:02 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Heat waves

July 19, 2010

Heat relief? Hug the AC, or pray for thunder

If you're sick of this endless, 90-plus heat, there's not much for you to like in this week's forecast. High pressure over the western Atlantic - the infamous Bermuda High - will continue to drive hot, damp air into the region.

The only relief in sight will be modest chances for a thunderstorm, if you're lucky enough to be Cool at Artscapeunder one. Otherwise, you'll have to stick close to your air conditioner, if you're lucky enough to have one. Or, take a cool shower.

The coolest day in the seven-day forecast for BWI won't come until Sunday. And by "cool" we mean perhaps the first day ahead that might hang below 90 degrees. Like, 89.

And the best chance for a shower or thunderstorm will come Tuesday night, when the probabilities rise to a whopping 40 percent.

The brutal reality is that we are stuck in a persistent pattern of hot weather. When the mercury tops 90 today it will mark the 33rd day of 2010 with a high of 90 degrees or more.

The average number of 90-plus days for an entire year is 29.4 days. The record is 54 days, in 1988. Anyone care to submit guesses on the total for 2010? I'll keep a tally and the reader coming closest by, say, Oct. 15 will win some cheap Sun swag.)

Fully half of June (16 days) and half of July so far (12 days, counting Monday) have reached 90 or more. Five have reached triple digits.

"Region is locked under a warm, moist air mass," forecasters said in this morning's discussion from Sterling. "There'll be a fair amount of cloud cover today. But when breaks develop, it will feel pretty uncomfortable. Heat indices this afternoon come in at just over 100 [degrees] for CD/Balt."Cool at the beach

But it doesn't matter. We're used to it, they say: "Given acclimation has occurred by now, no heat advisory will be issued." 

After all, we haven't had a below-average day since July 3. And, we haven't failed to break 80 since June 9.

The average temperature at BWI so far this month is 80.7 degrees (through Sunday), which is 4.5 degrees warmer than the long-term average. If it were to hold at that number through the end of the month, this would rank as the third-hottest July since the city's official weather station moved to the airport in 1950. Only 1955 (81.2 degrees) and 1995 (81.5 degrees) were hotter. 

But, we have two weeks left to sweat through, and while this one looks like it will remain hot, maybe next week will bring us real relief.

How are you staying cool this week? In an air-conditioned office like me? At the beach? (Don't I wish.) Leave us a comment, or a stay-cool tip.

(SUN PHOTOS: Top: Karl Merton Ferron, July 2010/ Bottom: Barbara Haddock Taylor, May 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:11 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Heat waves

July 8, 2010

When 88 degrees looks like relief

Looks like we've pushed past the record-breaking 100-degree weather of the past few days. But how bad is it when highs in the 90s begin to look pretty cool? And Saturday's forecast high of 88 degrees seems downright chilly?

If we do hold in the 80s on Saturday, it may well prove to be an isolated event. Forecasters out at Sterling are predicting highs in the low 90s at BWI through Wednesday of next week. That's when another cold front could arrive with a chance for a little more cooling and some badly needed Heat Baltimore showers.

In the meantime, we're stuck with half a loaf. Highs today at the airport should stop rising when the reach the lower 90s.

The air is a little cleaner over Baltimore today (Thursday). The Code Orange Air Quality Alert is in effect for Washington, D.C., Montgomery, Prince George's, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties. But the Baltimore region is not included. Code Orange means the air is unhealthy for those in sensitive groups.

The bad news is that Baltimore and the southern portion of Baltimore County remain under a Heat Advisory today from noon until 9 p.m. Because of the rising humidity, Heat Index numbers will be between 100 and 105 degrees. 

The added moisture in the air - in addition to keeping the heat index numbers up, expanding the sweat stains on our shirts and keeping us miserable despite lower temperatures - is increasing the cloud cover and offering a slightly better chance for some showers.

Those chances get even better - 50 percent - late on Friday and early Saturday as a weak cold front arrives from the west. That's what will give us highs only in the upper 80s on Saturday, too.

But almost immediately - Sunday - things will heat up again into the 90s, and continue that way well into next week. 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves

July 7, 2010

Heat death toll rises to 8

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced two more heat-related deaths on Wednesday, as the total number of fatalities for the summer rises to 8. 

From the health department: "The latest reported hyperthermia-related fatalities are an Anne Arundel County adult (19 to 64) whose death was unpended from late May, and a Baltimore City adult who died this week.  The Anne Arundel County individual collapsed inside their home after working outdoors; the Baltimore City adult was found inside an home with air temperatures over 90 degrees. " 

"I can't emphasize enough how important it is to take precautions against these record breaking temperatures that we are currently experiencing in our state," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement. "Find a place where it is cool, drink plenty of water or fruit juice and take it easy." 

For tips on staying healthy during these record-breaking hot days, see the Picture of Health blog. And check out our map of city cooling centers.

Posted by Kim Walker at 3:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

100 degrees at BWI-Marshall; new record set

The National Weather Service is reporting at 2 p.m. Wednesday that temperatures at BWI-Marshall Airport have reached 100 degrees. The reading breaks the old record of 99 degrees, last reached on this date in 1993.

There are now only six dates in July with high temperature records below 100 degrees.

The reading also marks the fifth day so far this year that has reached triple digits temperatures. It's the most 100-degree days before July 7 on record for Baltimore.


Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:02 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Heat waves

Power grid operators call for conservation

Power lines BaltimoreThe people who manage the distribution of electrical power from Northern New Jersey to Washington, D.C. called on consumers Wednesday to conserve electricity as the record-breaking heat wave continued to push power demands higher.

The PJM Interconnection said conservation measures are expecially needed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. when the demand for power to run air conditioners and fans typically peaks.

Tuesday's record heat prompted PJM to issue a voltage reduction warning, which advised transmission line managers to prepare for voltage reductions, or "brown-outs," in the mid-Atlantic region.

The warning was later cancelled as power demand dropped, and no voltage cuts were ordered.

Power demand across the PJM grid peaked Tuesday at 136,398 megawatts, the third-highest peak on record for the grid. It also exceeded the forecast high for this summer. Wednesday's demand was forecast to reach 137,783 by 4 p.m.

Consumers were urged to close curtains and blinds to keep the sun out and cool air in; delay the use of heat-generating appliances, suich as dryers and dishwashers until after 9 p.m.; set air conditioner thermostats higher if health permits; and turn off appliances and other equipment if they're not needed.

(SUN PHOTO: Doug Kapustin, 2006)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 1:44 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Heat waves

BGE restores power to thousands; heat persists

Thermometers were rising again Wednesday morning and nearly 8,000 BGE customers who had lost power during Tuesday's record heat were breathing a bit easier. By 10 a.m. BGE crews had restored electrical service to 7,930 customers according to their website. A few hundred more were still waiting for help.

Baltimore heatThe largest numbers of outages were scattered across Baltimore City and county.

The National Weather Service was predicting a high of 100 degrees again on Wednesday, which sounds like a break from Tuesday's record 105-degree reading at BWI-Marshall Airport. That is, until you recall that Tuesday's forecast high was also 100 degrees.

Just before 11 a.m. it was already 96 degrees at The Sun's weather station at Calvert and Centre streets. The airport reported 95 degrees. 

Heat Advisories were posted once again across almost all of Maryland, with exceptions only for Garrett County and the Lower Eastern Shore. A Code Orange air quality alert was up for the entire state, noting that air pollution levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups, including the very young, the elderly and people whith respiratory or heart diseases.

And in Baltimore City, the Code Red Heat Alert was extended through Wednesday, with cooling centers opened across the city.

Relief remains just out of reach, with highs Thursday and Friday predicted to hold in the lower 90s. A cold front late Friday or Saturday should bring the mercury down another peg, with weekend highs in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees. There's also a better chance for some scattered showers and thunderstorms on Saturday as the front pushes through.

(SUN PHOTO: Algerina Perna, July 6, 2010)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:27 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Heat waves

July 6, 2010

BWI-Marshall now reporting 104 degrees


The weather instruments at BWI-Marshall Airport reported a temperature of 104 degrees at 2 p.m. Tuesday. That breaks the record of 101 degrees set for the date in 1999.

It was 101 at the Maryland Science Center and at the Sun's weather station at Calvert and Centre streets.

UPDATE: At 4 p.m., the NWS reported a high of 105 degrees at BWI-Marshall, making this the hottest day here in 27 years. It is the second-highest July temperature ever recorded for Baltimore, after a 107-degree high on July 10, 1936. It matches highs reached only four other times, on June 29, 1934, Aug. 6 and 7, 1918, and Aug. 20, 1983.

(Baltimore Sun photo of children cooling off in Patterson Park by Duy Do)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:06 PM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Heat waves

It's 100 degrees at The Sun, and in DC

The thermometer at The Sun's weather station at Calvert and Centre Streets has reached 100 degrees, and so has the one at Washington's Reagan National Airport.

BWI-Marshall is reporting 98 degrees at noon. Ditto for the Maryland Science Center at the Inner Harbor.

UPDATE 1:10 p.m.: BWI-Marshall is now reporting 101 degrees, tying the record high for the date, set in 1999.




Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:33 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Heat waves

96 degrees downtown at 10 a.m.

It's already 96 degrees at 10 a.m. here at The Sun's weather center at Calvert and Centre streets. The downtown forecast calls for a high Tuesday of 104 degrees.

The airport is a few degrees behind us, at 94 degrees. But with another six hours or more of heating ahead, there seems little doubt we will reach or surpass the 100-degree mark today in both places, and set a new record high for the date at BWI.Baltimore heat

We're not likely to see any relief until Thursday, and we'll not leave the 90s until the weekend.

Here are the targets at BWI-Marshall for the next few days:

Tuesday: Forecast - 100 degrees. Record - 101 degrees, set in 1999

Wednesday: Forecast: 100 degrees. Record - 99 degrees, set in 1993

Thursday: Forecast:  91 degrees. Record - 100 degrees, set in 1993

Friday: Forecast: 93 degrees. Record - 103 degrees, set in 1936

Saturday: Forecast: 88 degrees. Record - 107 degrees, set in 1936

Sunday: Forecast: 88 degrees. Record - 100 degrees, set in 1988

Remember there are Heat Advisories posted for the region from noon Tuesday until 11 p.m. Wednesday evening. Here's the forecast for BWI-Marshall

We can blame the heat on the large high-pressure system still parked over the eastern third of the nation. Until a cold front moves in from the west late on Friday, we won't see much relief. The front could bring us some welcome showers and thunderstorms, and can be expected to bring daytime highs closer to the average for this time of year in Baltimore.

The hottest period of the year, on average in Baltimore, runs from July 16 to 25, with a long-term average of 88 degrees. After that, the numbers begin their long, slow slide toward winter.

(SUN PHOTO/ Algerina Perna)

Continue reading "96 degrees downtown at 10 a.m." »

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:15 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Heat waves

June 24, 2010

BWI thermometer hits 100 ... Or not

The National Weather Service reported a reading of 100 degrees this afternoon at BWI-Marshall Airport. That breaks the 98-degree record set for Baltimore in 1966.

Or maybe not. Although forecasters at the NWS forecast office in Sterling show a 100-degree reading for BWI on their computers, I'm told the official observer at BWI has not, at this writing, confirmed the reading.

UPDATE, 3 p.m.: It's confirmed. BWI hit 100 degrees at 1:54 p.m.

It's the first time the official (BWI) temperature for Baltimore has hit triple digits since a 102-degree reading on Aug. 8, 2007.

The highest we've seen so far this afternoon here at The Sun's weather station, at Calvert and Centre streets, is 99 degrees, at 2:10 p.m.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:40 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

Heat relief ! ... (next week)

UPDATE: 12:45 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for all of Maryland except for lower Eastern Shore, effective until 8 p.m. Thursday. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect for Garrett County.

Also, the thermometer at BWI-Marshall reached 98 degrees at 1 p.m. today, matching the record for the date, last reported here in 1966. Earlier post resumes below.

Where shall I start? This year does seem to be shaping up as a Big Weather year for Baltimore and Central Maryland. Big Snow, Big Heat and - dare I say it - a big tropical weather season? It happened in 2003. Remember? The record snowfall in February, followed by Tropical Storm Isabel in September? 

We'll just have to wait and see. For now, we're dealing with our sixth straight day of 90-plus temperatures and high humidity. There is a Code Red Heat Alert in Baltimore again today (Thursday). The heat index numbers for this afternoon are expected to reach 104 degrees - just Baltimore heatshy of Heat Advisory criteria. Heat Advisories are up for the southern Chesapeake, south of the Potomac River. And there's more to come.

Very old records continue to wobble and fall with this heat wave. Forecasters at the NWS service forecast office in Sterling, Va. say yesterday's high of 97 degrees at BWI tied the Baltimore record for the date, set in 1894. Today's forecast high of 96 degrees will threaten today's record high of 98 degrees, last reached on this date in 1966.

BWI-Marshall may also have broken the record for the warmest daily low for the date. The overnight low this morning at the airport was 79 degrees. If it doesn't get cooler than 76 before midnight, that will break the old record of 76, set in 1924. 

Some of us could see some thunderstorms this afternoon or this evening as a "cold" front (HAH!) pushes through. There is a potential for some of the storms to grow to "severe" proportions. There is some threat of hail, but damaging winds, especially between the Blue Ridge and I-95, are the main worry. The threat should end by midnight.Baltimore heat

Friday is forecast to be the coolest day of the week, and the driest, with a predicted high of only 89 degrees after the passage of the cold front late today. But after that, the high behind the front slides off the coast and (this should sound familiar) we fall into the return flow around the clockwise-spinning high. And that brings us more hot, humid air out of the south or southwest.

(Today, winds are out of the west. That's also bad news, as air flowing downslope off the Appalachians is compressed, which heats it up even more. But I digress.)

With that south or southwesterly flow over the weekend, forecast highs climb back in to the 90s, with a high of 92 expected Saturday, rising to 94 on Sunday and falling back only to 92 on Monday.

There is some relief at the end of the 7-day forecast, finally. After more showers and storms with another cold front on Monday, forecasters say, we'll drop back to more seasonable, merciful temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday, in the low- to mid-80s. 

Hey, it could be worse. We're finally out of the bad air zone. There is a Code Orange air pollution forecast up today for Washington, D.C. and its suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. But somehow the Baltimore region has escaped the smog with just "Moderate" air pollution expected through Friday.

(SUN PHOTO: Top: Kim Hairston, 2010/ Bottom: Barbara Haddock Taylor, 2008)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 9:45 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Heat waves

June 22, 2010

B'more declares Code Red Heat Alert, Weds., Thurs.

This just in from Baltimore City's Health Department:

"Because of predicted high temperatures and potential danger accordingto the Baltimore Heat Watch Warning System, Interim Health Commissioner Olivia D. Farrow is declaring Wednesday, June 23rd and Thursday, June 24th Code Red Heat Alert days.

"Baltimore City will open emergency colling centers. Each center will have cool air, water and ice available."

And this, from the National Weather Service:


Continue reading "B'more declares Code Red Heat Alert, Weds., Thurs." »

Posted by Frank Roylance at 9:49 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Heat waves

Mercury hits 95 at BWI-Marshall

Ho hum. Another sweltering day in the 90s in Baltimore.

The official instruments out at BWI touched 95 degrees this afternoon. That was plenty hot, but still shy of the record 100 degrees set for the date in 1988. The official high once again swamped the Weather Service's forecast high of 91 degrees, posted this morning. Monday's high of 94 at BWI also eclipsed the 91-degree forecast for that date.Baltimore heat

Which leaves us wondering about how hot we should expect Wednesday and Thursday to be. The forecast from NWS Sterling calls for a high at BWI of 94 on Wednesday and 95 on Thursday. Build in another few degrees based on past performance and we'll threaten the 100 mark before those days are done.

The Baltimore record for a June 23 is 97 degrees, set in 1894. The record to beat on Thursday will be 98 degrees, last reached in 1966.

So far, since Saturday, we've seen BWI highs of 93, 94 and 95, with 95 and 96 forecast for the next two days.

In the meantime, we also reached 95 degrees here at Calvert and Centre streets this afternoon. And that's where the dial remains at 6 p.m.  It was 96 degrees at 5 p.m. at Washington's Reagan National Airport.  And it was 95 degrees at Hagerstown.

There's another Code Orange Air Quality Alert posted in the region for Wednesday. The air will be unhealthy (for the third straight day) for people in sensitive groups. Hopes that it would ease to "moderate," have been dashed.

The temperature will fall slowly this evening if we dont see a thunderstorm. That could set us up to eclipse another record: the record high minimum (the warmest overnight low) of 75 degrees, set on June 23, 1943. "There's definitely a chance," said meteorologist Jared Klein.

So I'm headed out to do an imitation of the guy in this photo. How are you staying cool in this steam bath?

(SUN PHOTO: Jed Kirschbaum, 2009)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 5:59 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves

June 21, 2010

Midweek highs could threaten records

We're looking at some serious 90-plus heat this week, Maryland. NWS forecasters out at Sterling are calling for highs on Wednesday and Thursday that could threaten records at BWI-Marshall AIRNowAirport. I suspect some spots in the city could toy with the 100-degree mark.

The chances for a thunderstorm to cool things off, at least temporarily, look pretty slim - none at all today, then no better than 30 percent through Wednesday night, then rising only to 40 percent on Thursday as a weak front slides by. After that, it's all sunshine and more 90-degree heat.

The city did not extend Sunday's Code Red Heat Alert to Monday. (An earlier version of this post said, erroneously, it did.) The region also remains under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert (map left). Hot air, sunshine and vehicle exhaust combine to cook up plenty of ozone, making the air we're breathing outdoors unhealthy for vulnerable groups. That includes the very young, the elderly and those with heart  and respiratory problems. The forecast for Tuesday is no better.

Here are the highs forecast for this week for BWI, and the record highs for those dates. (UPDATED FORECASTS @ 5 P.M. Forecasters knocked 2 degrees off their forecast highs for Weds. and Thurs.)

MONDAY:  91 degrees forecast. Record 100 degrees in 1923NOAA

TUESDAY:  91 degrees forecast. Record 100 degrees in 1988

WEDNESDAY:  94 degrees forcast. Record 97 degrees in 1894

THURSDAY:  93 degrees forecast. Record 98 degrees in 1966

FRIDAY:  90 degrees forecast. Record 99 degrees in 1997

SATURDAY:  90 degrees forecast. Record 99 degrees in 1954

SUNDAY:  94 degrees forecast. Record 99 degrees in 1952

Since March 1, the airport has been running an impressive 4.8 degrees above the long-term averages. We have accumulated 13 days of 90-degree-plus weather, with another six straight in the forecast. And we haven't yet reached July, which is statistically the hottest month of the year.

The long-range forecast - for July, August and September (map above) - indicates there is a greater-than-average chance that temperatures in the mid-Atlantic states will continue to exceed long-term averages.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:36 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Heat waves

June 18, 2010

The Heat and Dr. No

No sooner had the Hammer of Heat descended on Baltimore for the weekend (and the week to come), than the Baltimore City Public Works Department followed up with a list of cool refreshing things we MUST NOT DO as we seek to relieve our misery.

DO NOT OPEN FIRE HYDRANTS: Sure, it's hot on the sizzling streets of Baltimore. But an open hydrant flows at a rate of 1,000 gallons a minute, enough to throw a child out into the street, and Cooling off in Baltimoreinto the path of traffic. It's happened before. It also lowers water pressure, and that could hamper firefighters and make it harder for hospitals and high-rises to get water to their upper floors. Plus, we're all paying for that treated water. That's "money down the drain," the DPW says. Use a garden hose.

NO SWIMMING: At least not in the city's reservoirs. We all have to drink that water, after all. Plus, as recent tragedies remind us, the reservoirs are deep and dangerous and laced with swift currents. Besides, there's a $1,000 fine if you get caught. Try a city pool. Or, use a garden hose.

If you do visit the city's lush watershed lands, Dr. No reminds us, there is "NO LITTERING, NO ALCOHOL, NO FIREARMS, NO CAMPFIRES.

Boating and fishing are OK, if you have a permit and comply with fishing regulations. 

Have fun! But use a garden hose.

(SUN PHOTO: John Makely, 2005)

Text WEATHER to 70701 to receive The Sun's mobile weather alerts.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

April 6, 2010

It's Hawt ! Monday's high of 84 set a new BWI record

Monday's high temperature of 84 degrees out at BWI melted the forecasters' predictions of a mere 78, and snuffed the old record high of 83 degrees for an April 5 in Baltimore, last reached in 1942.

It was the first non-snow weather record for Baltimore in 2010.

UPDATE at 5 p.m.: We've reached 90 degrees at BWI this (Tuesday) afternoon, according to the NWS, tying the record for the date, last reached in 1929. It's 94 degrees at Hagerstown; 93 at Dulles International (a new record); 91 at Martin Airport; 89 at Annapolis. Washington's Reagan National Airport reached 90 degrees, short of the record of 92 degrees set in 1942. Earlier post resumes:

With southwest winds and strong sunshine continuing to work on the region today, it will likely get even hotter this afternoon. But Baltimore is not expected to top the April 6 record of 90 degrees, Springtime funset here in 1929. 

The spring heat wave also set a new record out at Dulles International Airport, where the mercury reached 86 degrees. That topped the old record of 83 set in 1985. Dulles weather records only go back to 1962. Baltimore's stretch to 1871. 

Reagan National Airport saw a high of 83 Monday, falling short of the 86-degree record set there in 1910.

The forecast high for Tuesday in Baltimore, Washington and at Dulles Airport is 87 degrees. Only Dulles is forecast to break a record. The high mark for that airport on an April 6 is 86 degrees, set in 2005.

The month of April is still young, of course. And there's a cold front due late Thursday that will drop daytime highs back into the 50s and 60s from Friday through the weekend. The front comes with a forecast of showers and thunderstorms from Thursday afternoon through Thursday night.

But so far, we are running 10 to 15 degrees above the region's norms for the month.

Forecasters say the weather for Friday afternoon's season opener at Camden Yards should be sunny and cool, with an afternoon high of 57 degrees sinking toward an overnight low of 38 degrees.

(SUN PHOTO/John Makely, 2006)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:47 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Heat waves

June 29, 2009

Your car can become an oven in 10 minutes

You'll only be a few minutes, you think. Just long enough to run in for a box of diapers or a carton of milk. Surely you can leave the kids, or the dog in the car that long without worrying about them.

Well don't. Emergency room physicians are reminding us that our cars can become hothouses, Hot Careven 130-degree ovens in as little as 10 minutes when outside temperatures are as pleasant as 80 degrees.

Such temperatures can quickly be deadly to children and pets. And it happens every year. Harried grownups are sure their errands will be quick, but they're not. Or worse, they forget the kids are even in the car, and they park for work, only to realize too late that they forgot to drop them at day care.

UPDATE: A local example of exactly this phenomenon occurred recently in Ellicott City, when a 23-month-old child was left in the family car, in the driveway, all day. She died of heat stroke.

UPDATE 2: The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is also reporting the death of an elderly Prince George's County man, found inside a dwelling where the temperature had climbed to 99 degrees. His death was complicated by cardiovascular disease, health officials said.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2005 found that even when it was 72 degrees outside, the temperature increase inside the car can put children at risk for hyperthermia, reaching 117 degrees. And "cracking" the windows 1.5 inches made no significant difference, either in the speed of the temperature increase or the final temperature.

Here's more from Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.:

“Putting it bluntly, leaving your child in a hot car is like leaving your child in a lit oven,” he said. “The most important thing to know is that it does not have to be brutally hot outside for it to be brutally hot inside the car.  Be especially careful if you are sleep deprived or experience changes in your schedule or your child is in the back seat, making it more difficult for you to see.

"A vehicle’s window will act like a greenhouse, trapping sunlight and heat inside with no ventilation.  A car parked in direct sunlight can reach up to 131 degrees inside while the outside temperature is a tolerable 80 degrees.  Also, it’s very important to note that this isn’t a gradual, but rather a rapid increase in temperature.  In warm weather, a vehicle can reach dangerous, life-threatening conditions in only about 10 minutes.

"A child’s body temperature can go as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit in that time and it often is fatal.  Specifically, these extreme conditions can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, as well as heat stroke, dehydration, and seizures among other things."   


Continue reading "Your car can become an oven in 10 minutes" »

Posted by Frank Roylance at 1:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves

June 11, 2008

Timber falls as heat wave exits

 Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam

The heat and humidity have split, but not before toppling trees- big ones - all across Maryland and Virginia.

The list of incidents of downed trees, with associated structural damage and power outages, is impressive. There were also some lucky escapes, too. There's the story in today's Sun about Craig Cocharo, of Towson, whose 2007 Honda Accord - with him at the wheel - was crushed by a falling tree at Loch Raven Drive and Dulaney Valley Road. He escaped uninjured, but it's hard to imagine how.

Got any good storm stories to relate? Leave us a comment and share them. Here's Iver Mindel's report of an apparent microburst that raked the Lutherville park where he was attending lacrosse practice:

Continue reading "Timber falls as heat wave exits" »

Posted by Frank Roylance at 9:58 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Heat waves

June 9, 2008

Gak! More of the same, only worse

Sun Photo by Algerina Perna 

This late-spring heat wave is only getting worse today. The forecast high of 100 degrees at BWI is two degrees hotter than the record of 98 degrees, set 75 years ago today, in 1933. 

Downtown temperatures will be even hotter. It's already 95 degrees here at The Sun's weather station at Calvert & Centre streets. The heat index reading - which factors in the 75-degree dew point and its effect on evaporative cooling from the skin - is 108 degrees as I write this just after 11 a.m. And the peak heating probably won't occur until 3 or 4 p.m.

Heat advisories continue throughout the region, extended until 8 p.m. tomorrow. Here's's take on the heat wave. And here are some other high readings from yesterday's heat across the region.

Oh, man. This is brutal. But it's certainly not unheard of. There are seven dates in June with record highs of 100 degrees or higher for Baltimore. The highest was 105 degrees, reached on June 29, 1934. We touched 101 degrees twice, on June 5, 1925, and June 15, 1994 - not all that long ago.

Blame, once again, falls on the big high-pressure system sitting over the mid-Atlantic states. Clear skies and a clockwise circulation that's pumping hot, humid air our way from the south and west, are combining to put us in the steam bath. The sun, less than two weeks short of the summer solstice, is nearly as high and strong as it ever gets here. So being outdoors is a bad idea no matter how you cut it. That's Lindsay MacCuaig, of Baltimore, ignoring such advice in the photo above. The Sun's Algerina Perna shot the picture.

Fortunately, that high can't stick here forever. Forecasters expect that it will continue to drift eastward, allowing our next not-so-hot front to move in tomorrow. That won't provide much heat relief right away. The forecast high for Tuesday is still 97 degrees. But it will bring increased chances for showers and thunderstorms by Tuesday afternoon and evening. And Wednesday should be cooler, with highs in the mid- to upper-80s for the rest of the week and right through the weekend. That's still 5 degrees or so above the long-term averages for the date.

Hang in there, Baltimore.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:04 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Heat waves

June 8, 2008

Relief? Eventually, but not yet

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.

NOAA heat advisories

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.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 7:19 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Heat waves

August 8, 2007

Heat index reaches 115

With the temperatures outside the Sun building now at 98 degrees, and 52 percent humidity (dew point 77 degrees), the heat index has reached 115 degrees at 12:30 p.m. If you're indoors, working in air conditioning, thank your lucky stars. This is truly dangerous heat and humidity.

It's 101 degrees at the Inner Harbor.

If you have a relative or a neighbor with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, dementia or some other chronic condition, please go check on them, or call them and make sure they're okay. Nearly all of the 13 Marylanders who have died this summer from heat-related causes also had underlying conditions that hampered their ability to tolerate and cope with the heat and humidity, and hastened their deaths.

Let's look after each other.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves

One hot night

Oh man, this is awful. The weather instruments here at The Sun were reading 93 degrees at 10 a.m. and they're still going up. The heat index numbers have been fluctuating between 109 and 112 degrees as the breeze causes humidity numbers bounce around. 

The overnight low at BWI was 80 degrees. A check with meteorologist Andy Woodcock, out at the NWS forecast office in Sterling, Va., found that this was only the third time since the official observations moved to BWI (Friendship) Airport in July 1950 that overnight temperatures have failed to drop below 80 degrees.

The other occasions were on June 26, 1952 and July 22, 1972.

The list is much longer if you include all dates since weather records began in Baltimore in 1871. Back then, the readings were taken in downtown Baltimore, where heat-island effects cause higher daytime temperatures, and retard overnight cooling.

Development and paving at BWI may be contributing to a heat island effect out there, too.

Here at Calvert & Centre streets, the low this morning was 84 degrees. It was 85 at the Maryland Science Center. 



Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:55 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Heat waves
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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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