Heat, humidity likely to last through week

July 18, 1999|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Heat and humidity are once again rolling across the mid-Atlantic states, causing another round of urban heat advisories and Code Red ozone alerts in Maryland today and worsening a drought already considered the second-worst in state history.

Yesterday's high of 96 degrees at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was not a record, but weather forecasters expect more of the same, with highs reaching at least 90 degrees until the end of the week.

Forecasters are worried about drought, not the heat. The region's rainfall since last July is 16 inches below average, and none is expected in the immediate future. Forecasters are predicting that lawns will remain scorched and reservoirs lowering with evaporation into the normally hot, dry month of August.

"In August, even with normal rainfall, evaporation exceeds rainfall," said Barbara M. Watson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. "We are experiencing such a deficit that things are going to get bad."

Watson says it would take a major hurricane -- and the winds and flooding that come with one -- to alleviate the drought.

The gloomy forecast comes on the heels of a week that saw several regional water authorities begin emergency measures to preserve supplies.

Today's temperatures in the mid-90s and high humidity have caused the Maryland Department of the Environment to issue a Code Red ozone forecast and to ask residents to use public transportation.

J. M. Goff, the owner of Best Landscaping in Fallston, Harford County, understands most Maryland residents have been asked to conserve water and has been charging homeowners $50 an acre to sprinkle lawns from his water truck.

"They're all dried up; everything is dried up," Goff said. "There is nothing you can do except water, water, water twice a day in this kind of weather."

Pub Date: 7/18/99

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