Heat indices approach 110 degrees Thursday amid poor air quality

July 18, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

Temperatures rose to the mid-90s across the Baltimore area -- with heat indices approaching 110 degrees in some areas -- Thursday afternoon as much of the nation bakes under a heat wave.

Little cooling came overnight in the city, with an early morning low of 83 degrees downtown. Dew points are in the lower- to mid-70s, making the air feel thick and exacerbating the heat as well as air pollution.

Temperatures surged as high as 97 degrees at the Inner Harbor in the afternoon -- with a heat index up to 111 degrees. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reached and 95 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees.

The heat was fueling isolated storms around the region, including one over the Riviera Beach area of Anne Arundel County that was moving slowly and prompted a severe thunderstorm warning about 4:30 p.m. Storms meanwhile brough heavy downpours downtown, and helped drop the temperature at the Inner Harbor from 96 degrees at 4 p.m. to 83 degrees at 5 p.m.

A heat advisory is in effect for Baltimore City and Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties in the Baltimore area from noon until 7 p.m.

A "Code Orange" air quality alert is in effect across the Baltimore area for a second consecutive day. Such conditions are hazardous for children, the elderly, those with asthma and other sensitive groups cautioned to avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

Highs are forecast to remain in the upper 90s, with heat index values of 100-110 degrees, through Saturday, before a cold front is expected to bring thunderstorms and cooler temperatures. Highs are forecast in the mid-80s Sunday.

It has been a year since triple-digit temperatures were observed at BWI, the point of record for Baltimore. On July 18, 2012, BWI hit 104 degrees, breaking a record that dated to 1887 by 2 degrees.

Though not an official record-keeping location, the Maryland Science Center reached 107 degrees the same day, tying the hottest mark ever recorded in Baltimore, on July 10, 1936.

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