Photo by Dorothy Rowley/The Washington Informer
Photo by Dorothy Rowley/The Washington Informer

Millions of Americans coast to coast found themselves having to deal with sweltering heat this week amid the July 4 holiday, when temperatures in several states soared well over the 100-degree mark.

While national weather reports stated that the immense heat in states like Colorado, California and Missouri was accompanied by dry winds, both D.C. and Baltimore on Tuesday grappled with a heat index of 109.

In some places where grand fireworks were being planned for Wednesday, large fans were brought in to help counter the heat, all while workers steadily labored Tuesday to restore power to a commuter train in Philadelphia when a power failure left passengers stranded for hours in 120-degree heat.

Though the heat is not expected to subside until the weekend, temperatures in Phoenix, Ariz., could still soar as high as 114 degrees by Saturday, according to nationwide reports.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office issued a statement reminding residents that periods of high heat and humidity can cause medical problems such as heat exhaustion and stroke.

According to the office, when the temperature or heat index in the District reaches 95 degrees, District government, through the Department of Human Services and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, will implement the Heat Emergency Plan and activate cooling centers for residents to seek relief.

Although D.C. outdoor pools and spray parks are not open year-round, residents and visitors should take extra steps to beat the heat by staying in the shade or air-conditioning, drinking plenty of water and visiting a cooling center.

DC Recreation Centers, DC Public Libraries and Senior Wellness Centers are also open to the public during sweltering temperatures. However, for more information on where to go, residents can call 311 or text 311 to 32311. Additionally, maps showing cooling centers are available at, and people in need of a ride to one of the centers should call 202-399-7093 or 311.

Bowser’s office also notes that it‘s important to seek relief, as hot and humid conditions can cause medical problems such as heat exhaustion and stroke, and according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, people over age 60 are most susceptible to heat stress because they do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.

DC Water and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services officials remind the public that unauthorized use of fire hydrants is unlawful, dangerous and damaging.

Nevertheless, people are reminded to stay hydrated and to avoid the scorching weather by staying cool inside.

Here are some tips:

On a hot summer night when you want to stay cool at bedtime, fold your bed sheets, place them in a plastic bag, and then place the sealed bag in the freezer. Removearound bed time, remake your bed and when you’re ready to get in, your bed will be cool and comfortable.
If your air conditioner isn’t keeping things cool enough, grab a bag of ice and a small fan. Place the bowl of ice in front of the fan and turn it on to a nice, cool breeze.
You can create your own cooling pad by taking a sock, filling it with rice then making it into a knot and placing the sock in your freezer. When you’re ready to go out,just place the cool sock of rice on your neck.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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