Jul 22, 2022 - News

Richmond is heading into the hottest weekend of the summer

Illustration of a skull and crossbones sun in the sky
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Richmond is headed into what's expected to be the hottest weekend of the summer, with temperatures around 100°F and a heat wave in the 90s projected through next week.

  • The region is one of dozens across the country grappling with extreme heat, which has increased in frequency, severity and longevity due to climate change, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

Be smart: Keeping cool is what matters this weekend.

Richmonders tell Axios they plan to avoid the heat by staying indoors "like a consumptive Victorian wife," says local podcaster Johnathan Blade, or lying "face down over [an] A/C vent," which is what Richmonder Garren Shipley is doing.

Meanwhile: Others are heading to water, either like Jack Lauterback — who plans to "pop the fire hydrant in front of Bamboo Cafe, thus creating a swim up bar on Main Street," which we fully endorse — or to the James.

  • The river temperature is a balmy 83-85°F, depending on which part of the river you're in, according to the latest data from James River Watch.

Plus: All of the city's free public pools will be open all weekend, as will all seven of the area's free splash pads.

The city's usual cooling stations public libraries and the Marshall and Southside social services buildings — will be open through Friday for buildings and Saturday for the libraries.

  • And on Sunday, the hottest day, the city will open the first floor of City Hall from 10am to 5pm for a one-day cooling option.

For folks in need of assistance with cooling, local nonprofit Project Homes is giving out free air conditioning units for qualifying families, and the Virginia Department for Aging has some for qualifying seniors.

What they're saying: "Temperatures across the city can routinely vary as much as 15 degrees on summer days with no breeze," Richmond meteorologist Sean Sublette wrote this week.

  • Neighborhoods with a lot of tree canopy, like Stratford Hills, Westover Hills and Windsor Farms — will be cooler than concrete-heavy ones, like Jackson Ward, Manchester and Scott's Addition.
  • In general, Richmond's poorest neighborhoods tend to be significantly hotter than the wealthier ones due to lack of tree canopy.
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