Heat indexes soared above 110 degrees across the region Friday on the hottest day of the young summer, the second of what could be a stretch of days flirting with 100-degree temperatures.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airportreached 103 degrees for the first time since July 22 of last year, with a heat index of 110. Downtown, thermometers at the Maryland Science Center topped out at 106 degrees, with a heat index of 116.
The temperature at BWI would have been a record for any other June day, but the mark for June 29 is 105 degrees, set in 1934.
Temperatures rose quickly during the morning, with the airport recording 94 degrees by 10 a.m. Health officials urged people without air conditioning to visit cooling centers and public libraries through the weekend. Those committed to outdoor activities found ways to cope.
Cheryl Miller sipped icy lemonade under an umbrella as her husband, Mark, found shade under a folding chair with a built-in canopy, his sleeves rolled up and flip-flops kicked off, as they watched their grandson Joshua play in Under Armour's All-America Lacrosse Classic in Towson.
"We know all the accouterments to bring," said Cheryl Miller, of Norwalk, Conn. Her secret weapon, she said, was a battery-powered fan she found at a grocery store. "But who cares what the weather is? You come to see the boys and cheer them on."
Baltimore offered air conditioning, cold drinks and health resources at cooling centers for those less prepared for or more sensitive to the heat. The city's cooling centers will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Anne Arundel County will open cooling centers through Monday, and Harford County officials encouraged residents to visit public libraries to cool off.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene received about 20 reports of heat-related problems, including hyperthermia, dehydration and sunburn, in Central Maryland on Thursday, when the high at BWI was 96 degrees. Information from Friday was not immediately available.
No heat-related deaths have been reported this year in Maryland. Friday was the second day this year that the temperature reached 100 degrees at BWI, which last hit three digits June 21.
Baltimore's public works director asked residents not to swim in city reservoirs or open fire hydrants to beat the heat. Alfred H. Foxx also urged residents to conserve water to ensure water presser remains strong for all customers.
At Irvine Nature Center in Garrison, day campers sweated through a game of tag involving "hawks" chasing "baby birds." While the center's focus on learning about nature means most time is spent outdoors, said marketing director Beth Lacey Gill, camp organizers give air-conditioned breaks and encourage parents to apply plenty of sunscreen on their children.
Campers came equipped with water bottles and hats to beat the heat, though the center's "outdoor classroom" is in a wooded area that provides ample shade. Seven-year-old Caden Choi wore a floppy safari hat he got on vacation at Lion Country Safari in Florida, while other boys shaded their brows with Orioles baseball caps.
At the Under Armour lacrosse tournament, some left the sidelines to recover from the heat. Mark and Wendy Raposo of Somerville, N.J., relaxed in lawn chairs and on the grass up a hill from the fields. With one game in the books, they were thankful the tournament wasn't being played on artificial turf, which Mark Raposo said can heat up "like a frying pan."
Like the Millers, they are used to sweating while they watch their son Matt play in summer tournaments. But they were still dreading more heat the rest of the weekend. The tournament ends Sunday.
"Every year we come down here for tournaments, and every year it's like this," Wendy Raposo said.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 100 at BWI on Saturday, which would tie a June 30 mark last set in 1959.
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