The Baltimore area's forecast for the next five days can be summed up in three words: hazy, hot and humid.
And if those words aren't enough, just add these: highs in the mid-90s. And there's no relief in sight until the middle of next week.
For the second day in a row, the heat index -- a measure of what hot weather feels like -- hit 100 degrees yesterday. The temperature yesterday peaked at 96 at 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
With temperatures not expected to subside for several days, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a "heat watch" throughout the weekend and urged people to stay in air-conditioned places and drink plenty of fluids.
"Go to air-conditioned malls, movie theaters, or the air-conditioned home of a friend or relative. Drink plenty of fluids . . . Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing," state officials warned in an advisory.
Today and tomorrow will bring mostly sunny weather, with some temperature declines during the evenings. Lows should hit about 75, the weather service said.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will bring similar highs and lows, possibly with thunderstorms.
Despite the increased demand for air conditioning, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. officials said their facilities are not overtaxed.
"Our 5 p.m. peak [yesterday] was 5,496 megawatts of power, compared to our all-time peak of 5,910 [in July 1991] for the summertime. So we're in pretty good shape right now," said BGE spokesman Charles Franklin. "Even if we hit the peak, I don't think we'd have any problems."
On Wednesday -- when the heat index ranged between 108 and 110 degrees in some parts of Maryland -- a thunderstorm knocked out power to about 41,000 BGE customers in and around Baltimore. Everyone had power restored by noon yesterday, Mr. Franklin said.