Jul 22, 2022 - News

Heat wave heads for D.C.

Illustration of the sun with rays coming out of it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It’s boiling. It’s scorching. It’s sweltering.

D.C., it’s hot. And this weekend, temperatures could come within degrees of the 100s — for the first time since 2016.

Why it matters: The extreme heat affecting most of the country can cause life-threatening conditions as summers become deadlier, Axios' Arielle Dreher reports.

Driving the news: Mid-to-high 90s weather has already swept the D.C. region and will linger over the weekend, prompting D.C. to issue a heat emergency until Monday.

  • This means shelters and cooling centers are open and anyone in need of transportation to one can call 202-399-7093.
  • Additionally, some select outdoor pools will stay open this weekend until 8pm.

Of note: This weekend's hottest day looks to be Sunday with a high near 99, according to the National Weather Service.

Threat level: Extreme heat puts people without access to cool air, the elderly, pregnant people, and people with preexisting medical conditions at risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

  • D.C. is also what is known as an urban heat island — meaning that concrete, car exhaust, and lack of trees in certain areas all contribute to higher temperatures.

What they’re saying: On Thursday, DeAysia Johnson, a registered nurse and clinical supervisor with Pathways to Housing DC, grabbed her water wagon and went out to visit people experiencing homelessness.

  • While she has yet to see anyone pass out from heat stroke, she has seen the signs of heat rash, which look like small, inflamed bumps.

People experiencing homelessness face dire conditions when temperatures rise, Johnson says. Also, some medications, such as insulin, don’t last in the heat and other medications can make it difficult to regulate body temperature, Johnson adds.

  • “We see many people that have mental illness wearing multiple layers of clothing, kind of almost having their whole wardrobe on their backs."

She urges anyone who sees someone experiencing heat-related illness to call 911.

Meanwhile, how are some locals handling the heat?

  • A few words come to mind: “Poorly” and “We’re not.”
  • We do, however, have one small tip: One Prince George’s County resident recommends freezing wet bandanas to sling across your neck when you must — and we mean must — venture outside.
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