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Heat-related deaths reach 13 in Maryland

Region had 11 straight days of temperatures hovering near 100 degrees

By Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun

10:14 PM EDT, July 8, 2012

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Alex and Laura Garcia slogged back to their car after visiting the Baltimore Farmer's Market on Sunday, wiping sweat from their faces. After days of record-breaking, three-digit heat, the Bolton Hill couple agreed that what typically passes for hot would feel like paradise.

"If it was 90, it's sad to say, but I'd feel like that would be pretty nice," Alex Garcia said.

The region's reward for making it through 11 straight days of temperatures hovering around 100 degrees is a full week in the 80s starting Monday, National Weather Service officials said Sunday.

"In terms of the near-100-degree temperatures, we're done with it," meteorologist Greg Schoor said. "At worst, we would approach 90 at [the] end of the week."

Relief also came Sunday for those in the Baltimore region who've been without power since a powerful storm hit June 29.Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.announced Sunday that it had finished restoring electricity to more than 748,000 customers who were left without power.

Even as crews worked over the weekend to restore power to those who lost it during the storm, more homes — several thousand — went dark because of stress on the system due to the extreme heat. BGE said Sunday that these outages were also believed to have been fixed but asked people who still don't have power to call 1-877-778-2222.

On Sunday, the high temperature hit 100 degrees atBaltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, but it felt hotter with the humidity factored in.

People in sun hats roamed the Inner Harbor clutching water bottles like lifelines. They waited in line for brunch at the Blue Moon Cafe in Fells Point, crowding against the building to stay on the sidewalk's shady side. Women shopping along Broadway wielded umbrellas to keep the sun off their faces.

Thirteen people in Maryland have died from the heat since July 2, according to state health officials. The most recent were a Pennsylvania man over 65 years old who died in Harford County on Saturday, and a Baltimore City man and a Wicomico County woman, both over 65, who died Sunday. Officials had no other information on the deaths.

The heat was to subside by the end of Sunday, thanks to a cold front moving in from the north and storms that were expected to sweep through the area.

The agency issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Baltimore area through 10 p.m. Sunday. By 2 p.m., storms had been spotted in Hagerstown and were slowly working their way south and east.

"The cold front has already moved through," Schoor said. "It's not going to go anywhere over the next few days."

Alex Williams of Fells Point ignored the heat to shoot hoops Sunday afternoon with a friend at an otherwise empty basketball court in Canton. Despite his bravado, he said he'd eagerly embrace this week's promised mercury drop.

"It would feel like spring," he said.

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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