Excessive heat caused Baltimore County and Baltimore City schools to close early Wednesday. (WJZ Video)
Heat forced public school officials in Baltimore city and county on Wednesday to close schools two hours early and to cancel sporting events and postpone practices.
The closures were the first for the city, which started the new school year last week. In the county, where the school year began two weeks ago, county officials closed schools early for two consecutive days this week because of the combination of high heat and humidity and the lack of air conditioning in some schools.
By late Wednesday morning, the heat index — factoring in both temperature and humidity — was already surging into the lower 90s around the region and reached the mid-90s by the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The air-conditioning issue has long drawn complaints from teachers, students and parents. On Tuesday at a meeting of the Baltimore County Council, parents showed up to complain about the lack of air conditioning in 52 schools — about 30 percent of the schools in the district.
County parents vented on social media over the past week when outside temperatures continued in the high 80s and 90s.