With temperatures flaring, both the Prince George’s County and state government are advising residents to stay cool, drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous exercise and check on the health of neighbors, in particular the elderly.
The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures in Prince George’s County will remain at or above 90 degrees throughout the weekend and won’t cool down slightly until Monday, according to the agency’s website.
For those residents without air conditioning or adequate cooling systems, cooling centers have been opened across the county. The cooling centers — such as libraries or recreation centers — are areas with air conditioning that offer relief from the heat.
Ron Bridges, assistant chief of the county’s department of fire and EMS, said no deaths had been blamed on the heat waves as of Friday.
“People are using the cooling centers. It definitely is a positive that most of the power has turned back on in Prince George’s County,” he said. “I’m quite certain we’ve had our fair share of EMS runs related to heat-related emergencies.”
About 20 people took advantage of the cool temperatures and ice water at the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center on July 4, said Kathleen Reardon, a program specialist with the center.
Most of those who came to the cooling center at 6120 Sargent Road in Chillum stayed for 20 to 30 minutes, Reardon said.
Children seemed to bounce back from the weather quickly while their parents and their elders seemed to take a little longer, she said.
“It was a holiday but it was a hot one,” Reardon said. “We wouldn’t turn away anybody.”
For the past nine days, the mid-Atlantic region has seen temperatures in excess of 95 degrees, which set a record for the area, said Katie Garrett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Mid-Atlantic office in Silver Spring.
The average low temperature is about 81 degrees, Garrett said. At those temperatures, it becomes difficult for people to cool down in the evening hours, she said.
“Our normal maximum temperature is 88,” she said. “We’ve been hanging around 100 the last several days.”
The temperature should break somewhat on Sunday, but the relief comes with a significant chance of severe weather including thunderstorms and high winds, Garrett said.
“It’s pretty certain that somewhere in the mid-Atlantic we’re going to see some pretty serious thunderstorms,” she said. “That’s not to say that large hail or even a tornado could be ruled out.”
Following Sunday, temperatures should remain in the mid-80s until at least Thursday, according to the National Weather Service forecast.