City opens cooling centers as heat index climbs through week

July 20, 2011|By The Baltimore Sun

The National Weather Service was calling for Wednesday to be mostly sunny in the Baltimore area with a high near 95 degrees and east winds 3 to 6 miles per hour. Heat index values will be as high as 102. There is a chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. It will be mostly clear at night, with temperatures dropping to 77 degrees.

The city has opened its cooling centers Wednesday through Friday to provide free air conditioning and water for residents. In addition, city residents can seek relief from the heat at any branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, during normal business hours.

Five cooling centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p. m. Wednesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They are located:

•5225 York Road

•606 Cherry Hill Road (inside the shopping center on the second floor)

•3939 Reisterstown Road

•3411 Bank St.

•1400 E. Federal St.

Six more cooling centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday only. They are located:

•1000 Cathedral St.

•1700 Gay St.

•1601 Baker St.

•2825 Fait Avenue

•229 1/2 S. Eaton St.

•4501 Reisterstown Road

Also Wednesday, the state Department of the Environment has issued a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for the Baltimore area. A Code Orange alert means that air pollution concentrations may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, people suffering from lung diseases and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity outdoors.

Thursday was expected to be sunny and hot, with a high near 100 and southwest winds between 3 and 9 miles per hour. Heat index values will be as high as 109. Thursday night's low will be around 84.

An Excessive Heat Watch has been issued for Thursday afternoon through Sunday. The watch means that a prolonged period of high temperatures is expected. Hot temperatures and high humidity can lead to heat illnesses.

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