May 29, 2011
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 Monday 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:
“A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ALERT MEANS THAT AIR POLLUTION
CONCENTRATIONS WITHIN THE REGION MAY BECOME UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE
GROUPS. SENSITIVE GROUPS INCLUDE CHILDREN…PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM
ASTHMA…HEART DISEASE OR OTHER LUNG DISEASES…AND THE ELDERLY. THE
EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION CAN BE MINIMIZED BY AVOIDING STRENUOUS
ACTIVITY OR EXERCISE OUTDOORS.”
Here’s more on staying cool and being cool during a Heat Alert in Baltimore:
During periods of extreme heat, the Baltimore City Health Department recommends that city residents:
o Drink plenty of water or juice
o Avoid alcohol and caffeine
o Wipe skin with cool water as needed
o Reduce outside activities
o Wear light-weight and light-colored clothing
o Stay inside during the hottest time of day (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
o Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned locations
o Check on older, sick, or frail people in your community who may need help responding to the heat
o Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles, even for short periods of time
Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
o High body temperature with cool and clammy skin
o Hot, dry, flushed skin
o Rapid or slowed heart beat
o Seek medical help immediately if any of these symptoms occur
“Residents who are concerned about a neighbor can call 311. Call 911 if you are having a heat-related emergency,” said Baltimore City Fire Chief James Clack.
City residents who want information on the closest cooling center can call 311, the city serviceline. Any city resident experiencing the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should call 911. For more information, please visit our Website at www.baltimorehealth.org/coderedinfo.