Baltimore temperatures hit a record high for a second day in a row Thursday as meteorologists warned of poor air quality and enhanced wildfire risks.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reached 92 degrees just after 3 p.m., breaking the record high for May 3 in Baltimore, 91 degrees set in 1913.
Six Baltimore City schools were set to dismiss early, at 1 p.m., due to the extreme heat (Highlandtown Elementary/Middle, Lockerman Bundy Elementary, New Era Academy High School, Westport Academy Elementary/Middle, Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle and William Paca Elementary).
The heat and sunshine were exacerbating smog conditions, and a “Code Orange” air quality alert is in effect across the Baltimore region.
Meteorologists also warned that with the heat, relatively low humidity levels and gusty 15-20 mph winds, fires could spread easily Thursday. They urged residents “to exercise caution handling any potential ignition source, including machinery, cigarettes, and matches.”
BWI hit 90 degrees for the first time since September on Wednesday, breaking a record of 88 degrees also set in 1913.
The unseasonably warm conditions come as a high pressure system remains parked over the western Atlantic, its clockwise circulation pumping warm air into the region from the southwest.
Until Thursday, Baltimore had not seen back-to-back days in the 90s since Aug. 1-2.
The streak is expected to hit three days Friday, with highs in the lower 90s expected again. That would make this the region’s longest wave of 90-degree heat since a five-day stretch last July.
A cold front could stir some storms and rain showers Friday night into Saturday morning as it passes through the region into the weekend. Highs are forecast in the lower to mid-70s Saturday into early next week.