Carroll County Government is reminding people that its 12 cooling centers are open and available Tuesday, as forecasters are calling for heat indexes to reach the triple digits throughout the region.
The six branches of the Carroll County Public Library system, the Carroll County Citizens Services building in Westminster and the five Senior and Community Centers will be designated cooling centers throughout the rest of the summer, according to Doug Brown, Carroll County Emergency Management coordinator.
"We want to let our folks know proactively that we have [the cooling centers] available to you. It's also important to know that each of those will have air conditioning and water fountains available to help people cool off," Brown said "These are [the centers'] normal hours, so there is no additional cost to the taxpayers; no additional staffing."
The National Weather Service has forecast a high temperature that could reach 95 degrees Tuesday in Carroll County, an already toasty temperature that, when combined with expected high humidity, will make for a muggy, oppressive afternoon, according to meteorologist Matt Elliott.
"It will probably feel more like around 100 degrees, or a few degrees above, a pretty steamy afternoon," Elliott said. "In the metro areas, like Baltimore or D.C., we may see the more extreme heat indexes possible around 105."
The cooling centers announcement highlights the primary safety recommendation Carroll County Emergency Management would like to make to the people of Carroll, according to Brown, namely to make use of air conditioning, shade and to avoid exertion outdoors during the hottest parts of the day.
"Slow down, reduce your activity, especially for people that exercise. You can be in fantastic shape, but you can run at the wrong time of the day and if you are not acclimated, you can put your body through some severe stress," he said. "Reschedule strenuous activities for another time: Your grass may be real high, but can you mow early in the morning, or maybe in the evening before sundown?"
Other recommendations include wearing light-colored clothing, staying hydrated and looking out for others, according to Brown.
"Carroll County is about community," he said. "If you know you have a neighbor that is elderly and cannot take care of themselves, that may have an issue, take a little time to ask what's going on."
Tuesday will also be the first BG&E Energy Savings Day of summer and a chance to save money for BGE customers. People with BGE smart meters can earn credits toward their next bills by cutting down on energy usage between 1 and 7 p.m., according to news release, which also warns customers not to endanger their health by cutting back energy use too far.
Tuesday's heat won't stick around too long, according to Elliott, who said an afternoon cold front should bring relief from the high temperatures, but could also bring potentially severe thunderstorms to the area by later afternoon or early evening. He said the rest of the week is looking beautiful.
"Temperatures will probably be in the mid 80s Wednesday, and the dew point will drop down into maybe the upper 50s, so that's very comfortable air," Elliott said. "I don't have [a forecast] beyond Sunday now, but this weekend looks like heaven with high temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s."
Wednesday's storms, which Elliott said could include damaging winds and even some hail, highlight another safety concern this time of year.
"Right now, mid-June to early July, is the Mid-Atlantic region's season for severe weather," he said. "Once we get to the July-August time frame, you typically get a ridge of high pressure that builds up and chances for thunderstorms diminish."
Brown said the most important things when it comes to severe storms is to know what areas are likely to flood and how to get to higher ground if necessary and paying attention to thunderstorm or tornado warnings.
"Staying in tune to radio and TV stations is important," he said. "A warning, in most cases, means it is happening."
For more information on safety in summer heat or extreme weather conditions, go to the Carroll County Emergency Management website at ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/emermang
• Mount Airy Senior and Community Center, 703 Ridge Avenue, Mount Airy
• North Carroll Senior and Community Center, 2328 Hanover Pike, Hampstead
• South Carroll Senior and Community Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg
• Taneytown Senior and Community Center, 220 Roberts Mill Road, Taneytown
• Westminster Senior and Community Center, 125 Stoner Ave., Westminster
The Carroll County Public Library branches are open as cooling centers 9 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and are located as follows:
• Eldersburg Branch, 6400 Hemlock Drive, Eldersburg
• Finksburg Branch, 2265 Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg
• Mt. Airy Branch, 705 Ridge Avenue, Mount Airy
• North Carroll Branch, 2255 Hanover Pike, Hampstead
• Taneytown Branch, 10 Grand Drive, Taneytown
• Westminster Branch, 50 East Main Street, Westminster — The Westminster branch is open 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays until September
• The Carroll County Citizens Services Office Building is also open as a cooling center 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 10 Distillery Drive, Westminster
More information on the BGE Energy Savings Day can be found on the utility company's website at http://www.bge.com/smartenergy/smart-energy-rewards/Pages/SER-Event-Central.aspx