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Take hot weather seriously - it's dangerous

Sisters Chasity Barrett, 8, and Blessin Barrett, 3, enjoy freeze pops as they sit in the shade talking with their grandmother on Slater Road in Cherry Hill.
Sisters Chasity Barrett, 8, and Blessin Barrett, 3, enjoy freeze pops as they sit in the shade talking with their grandmother on Slater Road in Cherry Hill. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun)

Forecasters are predicting scorching temperatures throughout Maryland this week (“Heat advisory continues in Baltimore area, as temperatures surge and cooling centers stay packed,” July 2). As temperatures soar to dangerous levels, it is important for all of us to follow the guidance on how to stay cool and safe. And to look out for those most vulnerable in our communities: our elders, our children, even our pets.

Nearly 110,000 people living in Maryland are especially vulnerable to extreme heat. But it is also important for us to talk about our rapidly warming planet. The frequency and severity of summer heat across the United States is being fueled by climate change.

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Last year was the third hottest year on record with many parts of the country, including Maryland, experiencing oppressively hot days. This year is already bringing more of the same. But it gets worse: Currently, Maryland averages 10 dangerous heat days a year. By 2050, Maryland is projected to see a four times increase to 40 dangerous heat days each year.

This is alarming. Our news outlets should be helping ring the alarm bell and our local and state leaders, including Gov. Larry Hogan, should be doing more to lead the charge in response to this crisis.

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Climate change is not a distant threat. It’s here, now, in Maryland, as this dangerous heat wave makes clear.

Jin Nothmann, Owings Mills

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