February 9, 2023
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Baltimore health commissioner declares code red ahead of expected hottest temperatures of year – Baltimore Sun

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A heat wave is expected to bake Baltimore for the next couple of days, leading the city health commissioner to declare a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert.

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa issued the alert for Thursday through Sunday. Meteorologists are predicting that those days, with temperatures near 100, are going to be the hottest so far this year.

Temperatures in the Baltimore region through the weekend are forecast to be in the upper 90s, but it’s going to feel like triple-digit temperatures, as high as 110 in the afternoons, according to the National Weather Service.

The dog days of summer are ahead, NWS meteorologist Brandon Fling said Wednesday night.

“So we are expecting very warm temperatures for the rest of this fourth week heading into the weekend and into early next week, temperatures well into the 90s pretty much every day through that period,” he said. “Thursday and Sunday look like they’ll be the warmest days of the year.”

A heat advisory from the NWS is in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. It includes Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties. Conditions are going to feel the hottest across Southern Maryland with the heat index values forecast around 105 to 109, Fling said.

Lows from Thursday to Sunday will be in the 70s with sunny skies during the day and mostly clear ones at night. There are chances of showers and thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and Sunday night, according to NWS. Temperatures are expected to cool off next week.

The 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. This is the first time one’s been declared this year.

“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,” Dzirasa said in a news release. “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.”

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. Thursday through Sunday.

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.

The Baltimore City Health Department provided a list of cooling center locations available to the public while the heat alert is in effect.

From BCHD:

The Health Department’s Division of Aging will open the following locations as cooling centers on Thursday and Friday 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. Days and times vary.

  • My Sisters Place Women’s Center (women and children only), 17 W. Franklin St., Thursday-Sunday 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Manna House, 435 E. 25th St., Thursday and Friday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Beans & Bread, 402 S. Bond St., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Franciscan Center, 101 W. 23rd St., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. –1 p.m.

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City will open the following locations as cooling centers Thursday and Friday 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
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

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:
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • High body temperature with cool and clammy skin
  • Hot, dry, flushed skin
  • Rapid or slowed heartbeat

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