Triple-digit weather continues in Maryland

Downtown Baltimore topped 100 Thursday

July 21, 2011|By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland really began to turn in the roaster Thursday, joining much of the rest of the country, now deep in the summer's worst heat wave.

The mercury reached 103 degrees in downtown Baltimore, with a heat index reading of 117 degrees. It was 100 at BWI-Marshall Airport, four degrees short of a record.

There is little relief in sight. The region could see some scattered thunderstorms Friday or Saturday afternoon. But forecasters don't expect much of a palpable break from the suffocating weather until a weak cold front arrives late Sunday.

The National Weather Service was forecasting a high of 104 degrees downtown on Friday, fading to 101 degrees on Saturday. The airport could reach 102 degrees Friday before slipping to 99 on Saturday.

The excessive heat warnings for all of Maryland east of the Alleghenies were extended through Saturday evening. Baltimore's Code Red Heat Alert was extended through Friday.

Friday's air quality forecast from the Maryland Department of the Environment was for Code Red conditions, with ground-level ozone levels rated unhealthy. Sensitive groups are urged to avoid prolonged exertion, and everyone is advised to limit outdoor exercise.

The cold front on Sunday should drop the daytime highs to the lower 90s, but we'll stay in the 90s at least through next Thursday, forecasters said. That would make it 12 days in a row with highs of 90 or higher. The record for Baltimore is 25 days, set from July 12 through Aug. 5, 1995.

BGE officials said the region's generators and transmission lines were keeping up with the demand for electricity for fans and air conditioners.

"The system continues to hold up well," said BGE spokeswoman Linda Foy. "At this point it does not appear that we will set a new peak usage record, although we could get close by [Friday]."

frank.roylance@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/froylance

Maryland weather blog: Frank Roylance on meteorology

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