After a sweltering weekend, temperatures in the Baltimore area are expected to fall this week, bringing forecasts of thunderstorms beginning Monday.
Monday afternoon has seen a high of 90 degrees and a heat index of 101, with the temperature expected to reach 93 degrees. Additionally, a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Baltimore County and Baltimore City until 10 p.m.
NWS predicts an 80% chance of thunderstorms Monday evening and possible rainfall amounts between a quarter and half an inch.
Damaging wind gusts are the primary threat. Storms could also produce lightning, hail and isolated instances of flooding, according to NWS.
Isolated severe thunderstorms and flooding are possible Tuesday afternoon and evening, especially in southern Maryland, NWS said.
Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with a high near 83.
While the Maryland Department of the Environment issued a yellow or moderate Air Quality Index warning for the entire state on Monday, Baltimore City’s health department issued a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert, originally for Thursday through Sunday but extended through Monday.
The city health commissioner may declare a code red during periods of heat that are severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable Baltimore residents.
“Excessive heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States. The effects of extreme heat are exacerbated in urban areas, especially when combined with high humidity and poor air quality,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said in a news release last week. “Extreme heat is particularly dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions. I encourage all residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves as well as their families, neighbors, and pets.”
The heat wave brought a high of 96 on Friday and continued into Sunday with a high of 97 and a heat index value that reached 103. Heat index takes into account temperature and relative humidity and is used as an indication of the apparent temperature as it would be felt by a person outdoors.
Essentially, Brian LaSorsa, a meteorologist for NWS, explained, the more humidity in the air, the longer it takes for people to dry and cool off, which leads them to feeling hotter than the actual temperature.
Before this weekend, the area’s high temperature this year had been 96, on May 31, June 17 and July 1. Baltimore’s highest July temperature on record was 107 degrees in 1936, according to the weather service.
The stifling heat likely won’t last much longer. Temperatures are expected to dip into the 80s this week following Monday’s expected storms.
Cooling centers in Baltimore City will remain open through Monday.
ShopRite of Howard Park at 4601 Liberty Heights Ave. will be open as a community cooling center from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Monday.
Residents seeking relief from the heat can also visit the many local Enoch Pratt Free Library branches during regular business hours. Closing times vary but all the branches open at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
The Baltimore City Recreation and Parks pools are open. Registration online or by phone is encouraged, but pool staff will accept walk-up participants. City residents who want cooling center information while the heat alert is in effect can call 311.
Cooling center locations
The Baltimore City Health Department provided a list of cooling center locations available to the public while the heat alert is in effect.
The Health Department’s Division of Aging will open the following locations as cooling centers Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Harford Senior Center, 4920 Harford Road (410) 426-4009
- Hatton Senior Center, 2825 Fait Ave.(410) 396-9025
- Sandtown Winchester Senior Center, 1601 Baker St. (410) 396-7724
- Oliver Senior Center, 1700 N. Gay St. (410) 396-3861
- Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging, 4501 Reisterstown Road (410) 396-3535
The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services will open the following locations as cooling centers.
- My Sisters Place Women’s Center (women and children only), 17 W. Franklin St., Through Sunday 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
- Manna House, 435 E. 25th St., Friday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Beans & Bread, 402 S. Bond St., Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Franciscan Center, 101 W. 23rd St., Friday 10 a.m. –1 p.m.
The Housing Authority of Baltimore City will open the following locations as cooling centers Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
- Brooklyn Homes, 4140 10th St.
- Cherry Hill Homes, 2700 Spelman Road
As a reminder, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, when visiting a cooling center please wear a face mask and maintain social distancing when possible.
You should not visit a cooling center if you have the following symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call ahead to a health care professional and mention your symptoms.
During the Code Red Extreme Heat season, the Baltimore City Health Department recommends that city residents:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Reduce outside activities.
- Stay inside during the hottest time of day (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned locations.
- Check on older, sick, or frail people in your community who may need help in the heat.
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles, even for short periods of time.
- Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Seek medical help immediately if these symptoms occur:
- High body temperature with cool and clammy skin
- Hot, dry, flushed skin
- Rapid or slowed heartbeat
Baltimore Sun reporter Ashley Barrientos contributed to this article.