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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 07/ 7/2010

Forecast: Brutal heat wave hits day 3 of near 100

By Dan Stillman

Intense heat subsides tomorrow; still very warm

* Heat advisory, Code Orange air quality today *
* Thinking cool | D.C. fireworks | Heat chat | Weather Wall | NatCast *
* Record watch: DCA: 99 (1991), IAD: 101 (1988), BWI: 99 (1993) *
* Stay cool with a CWG Snowmageddon t-shirt: Check it out *
* More local weather news & impacts: Post Local | Cooling centers *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.


Triple digits threaten again, and still no raindrops. The last day of this intense heat wave shows no mercy.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly sunny & still extremely hot. Near 100. | Tonight: Partly cloudy & very warm. 70s to near 80. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny & more humid. 30% chance of p.m. t'storms. Low 90s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Ridiculous, record-threatening heat is on the agenda again today -- yesterday's highs of 102 at National and 100 at Dulles were one and two degrees short of the respective record highs for the day, while BWI's 105 broke the old record of 101 -- before we return to more garden-variety summer warmth starting tomorrow. What doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon is any significant stretch of below-normal temperatures. Still, after three days with highs near and over 100, we'll take low 90s to near 90 tomorrow through the weekend, even if it means higher humidity. And maybe a thunderstorm or two to go with it?

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Wednesday): Whatever you did to keep cool the past two days, plan to do it again today. Morning temperatures rise quickly through the 80s and well into the 90s by lunchtime, before mostly sunny skies heat afternoon highs to near 100 for the third straight day. Humidity may be a touch higher than yesterday but probably still moderate rather than high or oppressive -- not that the temperature alone isn't oppressive enough. Confidence: High

Tonight: Another hot evening and very warm overnight with partly cloudy skies. Evening temperatures only slowly fall back through the 90s and eventually into the 80s. Lows end up in the upper 70s to near 80 downtown, and low-to-mid 70s in the suburbs. Confidence: High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Thursday): A new weather pattern -- an onshore flow from the east -- doesn't completely destroy the heat. But it does knock it back a good bit to highs in the low 90s under partly sunny skies, and introduces a 30% chance of afternoon or evening showers and thunderstorms. The price we pay is substantially higher humidity -- into the moderate or, more likely, high range. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Shower/t'storm chances remain around 30% through evening. If you thought lower daytime highs would translate to a cooler night, not so fast. The higher humidity prevents any major nighttime cool-down as lows bottom in the 70s for most spots. Confidence: Medium


Still under the influence of that upper-level low pressure, Friday should be similar to Thursday with partly sunny skies, high humidity and highs in the low 90s. As of now, I'd estimate afternoon shower and storm chances at around 20-30%. Evening and overnight chances are a bit higher, around 30-40%, as a cold front approaches. Friday night lows stall out in the muggy 70s as we all wonder how long until the A/C can take a break. Confidence: Medium

A cold front moving through the area creates partly to mostly cloudy skies Saturday and raises shower and storm chances to around 40-50% (watch for some tweaking of the percentages as we get closer to the weekend). Highs should scale back a few degrees from Friday -- to the upper 80s to near 90 -- with humidity still up there. Confidence: Low-Medium

If the front clears out in time, which I think it will but can't guarantee yet, then Sunday should be a pretty nice day with increasing sun, decreasing humidity thanks to drier breezes from the northwest, and highs near 90. Confidence: Medium

Updated: Wed. July 7 @ 3:50 p.m.

By Dan Stillman  | July 7, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: What do you like about summer heat?


here's hoping we break some records today! that picture of the ice-blue glacier water headed for the moulin from yesterday was just about the coldest looking picture i've seen in a while. anyway, no matter how hot it gets outside, i know a place where snow never melts...remember these? i said i'd post 'em when we were headed for upper 90s....and here we are headed there you won't be tired of them by summer's end...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | July 7, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

DCA: 101. IAD: 100. BWI: 104.


Posted by: ennepe68 | July 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Around 6pm yesterday, I was driving west from NW Baltimore to Eldersburg on Rte 26 and saw a sign that was reading 116. 116!!! It was in direct sun with no shade at all but still.

This is one contest I would like Baltimore to lose, thank-you-very-much. :P

Posted by: wildwolf45 | July 7, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

In August 1980, I think, we had back-to-back 101-plus degree highs. I think it was 102 and 103. Not that it ought to happen again, because a lot of people are truly suffering in this heat. (So says, Mr. let-them-eat-snow-cones when we get blitzed by snowflakes. But heat is much more pernicious than snow!)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

At 10 a.m., National, Dulles and BWI all at 90+ ... National: 92; Dulles: 90; BWI: 95

At the same time yesterday?... National: 93; Dulles: 90; BWI: 94

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Dan, if it's going to hit 100 absolutely must be 90-plus degrees by 10 a.m. Right now I'd say 101 will be the high...?

Anyone know this a.m.'s low temp? The lowest DCA low I recall was 84 degrees but oddly enough the high that day was "only" 96, partly because it was so humid. Don't remember the year, though.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The following article seems to say that we've only had six 100 degree days in the last 10 years. Is that true? That seems way too low.

Posted by: Oblio | July 7, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Oblio, I am fairly sure that is untrue.

Posted by: sugarstreet | July 7, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Here we snow again...

Oh wait, snow jokes don't work this week. Any heat humor out there?

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

JerryFloyd1, DCA got down to 80 this morning. The all time record high minimum is 81 from the 1930's.

Posted by: eric654 | July 7, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I recommend that readers of this page if they have not done so already, familiarize themselves with the NOAA web site, though it is far from the most organized site. I cannot find a good web page for this kind of historical information we're talking about.

I'd also recommend the writers of this page familiarize themselves with the NOAA site too. Too often it seems that the writers at the Post downplay concerns about global warming. If the NOAA stats are not reliable, I would appreciate knowing this, as well as an explanation.


The average temperature in May 2010 was 72.6 F. This was 2.6 F warmer than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 10th warmest May in 116 years. The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is -0.1 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

4.51 inches of precipitation fell in May. This was 0.64 inches more than the 1901-2000 average, the 30th wettest such month on record. The precipitation trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is 0.03 inches per decade.

Posted by: sugarstreet | July 7, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

eric654, actually the all-time high min is 84 in 1983. I think the 81 number was referencing a daily record. 80+ for a low is not terribly common, only 31 instances since the 1870s. Similar with the AVG temp of 90+ yesterday (and probably today).

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ian, thanks for the correction. I got my info from yesterday's LWX discussion: when he said "AND THE NGT OF 7/27/30 STILL HOLDS THE RECORD MIN..WHEN THERE WAS A WHOLE LOT LESS INFRASTRUCTURE...OF 81".

Looking at his writeup again, it may be that he only looked at the 1930's before he wrote up that section.

Posted by: eric654 | July 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

eric654, ahh, I see. Odd. If you look at the July records you see a few above 81. That 81 looks like the highest min at the previous location in D.C.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is -0.1 degrees Fahrenheit per decade" is very surprising. i guess it is because they're just considering the "southeast region".

i did that analysis for some of the northwestern and western regions and they showed positive trends, but sure enough the southeast shows -.09 degrees/decade, and the northeast shows 0 degrees/decade.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | July 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

i wonder if all the chicken littles who suffer nervous break downs at the mere mention a snowflake in the forecast are happy this week. i really, really do.

i think we're at more heat-related deaths than blizzard-related deaths (and i know we are if you count the uptick in homicides as heat-related, which yes i realize isn't a proven connection. but still.)

Posted by: freckleface | July 7, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I loved the blizzards this year. Snow every year would be great. Blizzards every 5 years would be welcome.

My anecdotal experience, certainly unreliable, is that while the Mid Atlantic has trended warmer, the Southeast has trended cooler. I cannot speak for the NE.

Posted by: sugarstreet | July 7, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

i think we're at more heat-related deaths than blizzard-related deaths...

it's not even close. summer is MUCH more dangerous than winter.

these stats don't even include drowning or skin cancer...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | July 7, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

DCA has tied the record already with 99. Looks like we're about on pace with yesterday still.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

As previously noted on the morning the all-time record low of 84 occured (in 1983, as it turns out), the high was a wimpy 96. Nonetheless, one steamy Saturday.

I just went for a "stroll" and it's definitely more oppressive outside than this time yesterday.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Day 34 of no rain, getting close to the 41 days in 01. Nothing sucks worse than summer heat.

Posted by: VaTechBob | July 7, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

walter-in-fallschurch, I read this morning that the CDC has tracked about 8,000 deaths during heat waves from 1979 to 2003. That's more than all of the deaths due to lightning, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting, walter and Camden. I figured as much just going by memory and common sense, but I didn't realize it was so extreme. Can we remind people of this next time it snows?

And also, if heat waves are really that dangerous, why aren't we constantly reminded to check on elderly relatives/neighbors etc like we are during snow?

Posted by: freckleface | July 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@Freckleface, you're kidding about checking on the elderly, right? The D.C. government has been sending people door to door to check on elderly people, cooling shelters have been opened in a number of cities, etc.

A catastrophic heat wave that killed an estimated 1,000 people in Chicago in 2005, many of them elderly, has resulted in major changes in how municipal governments handle heat waves.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@ Jerry

I haven't heard it. I get my news through Morning Edition, and during major weather events I check this site, and that's about it. During all the snow, it seemed as if every 5 minutes someone was repeating the "check on the elderly" line, and I really have yet to hear it with the heat.

I am very glad to hear that DC is sending people door-to-door, and I remember that Chicago heat wave very well (my own grandmother lived in Chicago at that time and we were very worried for her), and it's what I think about every time a major heat wave happens.

Posted by: freckleface | July 7, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Freckleface, the door-to-door in D.C. activity was on a local TV news report this a.m. Opening up the cooling centers in different cities has been also on various TV news outlets.

Glad your grandmother made it through the Chicago heat wave. My friends in Wilmette don't have a/c but they fled Chicagoland to a cool lake in Wisconsin.

Along with Walter, Celeste, and a few others, I'm one of the most earnest snowophiles hereabouts. I spent my childhood mostly in central Florida, where there are a lotta' snowbirds, but not many flakes (except the two-legged type).

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Rain threat Friday has increased to 30%, though the main threat is Saturday after my dance.

It seems to have hit 101, but is now back to 99. Would prefer any severe weather tomorrow rather than Friday.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | July 7, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

DC hit 102 sometime in the last 6 hrs, BWI hit 101.. also a record now.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@Ian, if DCA has already made it to 102, surely they can squeeze at least 103 out of the their thermometer toothpaste tube.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

BWI has hit 100 and broke the record for the date.

Posted by: mickb1 | July 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

JerryFloyd1, we've been somewhat stable on temps lately with more clouds. I think it might have come right after noon when we were spiking. Yesterday we cleared a bit late in the afternoon again which could help us make that run if it happens.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 7, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd much rather be in my hometown of West Palm Beach than here today! My friends just called from the beach and they say it is pleasant with the ocean breezes. I remember this winter being berated constantly from certain posters anytime I mentioned I liked the snow, because of all the problems winter weather brought on. It got so tiresome. It is nice to be able to discuss the weather again in peace. On another note, my air conditioner is cranking. It is having difficulty maintaining 77 degrees- and I have a tiny place.

Posted by: Snowlover2 | July 7, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@Snowlover2, yeah, some of us got a lot of flack last winter from the snowophobes I never knew what 100 degree temps were 'til I moved up here from Tampa. They've never recorded a high temp of 100 or more there.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 7, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a stretch of boiling-hot weather around July 4th of 1993? I think several days of +100 were included in that stretch.

Posted by: KGDave | July 7, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Jerry, I don't doubt it, I'm just saying I haven't seen it. I don't have a television. The cooling centers were news on the local portion of Morning Edition. So whereas with snow it seems (from what I see) there's a rallying cry, with heat, the cry doesn't seem quite so loud even though it would appear that it is much more dangerous. That's all. Just how it's appeared to me.

And you can lump me in with the snow-philes. The only reason I wouldn't want to do Snomageddon every year is that it would seem less special and unique (kind of like if you ate dessert every day). But otherwise I'd say "bring it on"!.

Posted by: freckleface | July 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I think some health risk in heat comes from not realizing the danger. Heat exhaustion can build up gradually over time without the victim realizing it. With cold it is a lot more obvious to the victim. As for the health risks, here's one study showing that Jan, Mar, Apr and May are worst for pneumonia, so cold and hot may not be much of an issue

Posted by: eric654 | July 7, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Where is Rush "there's no such thing as global warming" limbaugh? Rush, we needs ya' to tell us it jes' ain't so. Maybe he can get Sarah to "drill, baby drill" a hole in his hesd to let the sap run out. Maybe they both can take turns.

Posted by: glenglish | July 8, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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