The heat index is forecast to reach the triple digits in and around Baltimore on Saturday, triggering city health officials to declare the year’s first “Code Red” heat emergency.
Temperatures are forecast to reach the mid-90s, and factoring in humidity, it’s expected to feel like close to 100 degrees, meteorologists said. Air quality is also forecast to be poor.
Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa urged residents to drink plenty of water and to limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day, from around 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Code Red alert prompts the city to open cooling centers and to extend public pool hours.
“Excessive heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States,” she said.
Saturday is forecast to be a fifth consecutive day that temperatures hit the 90s around Baltimore.
Temperatures reached 96 degrees at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Thursday, making it officially the region’s hottest day of the year so far.
The hot weather and stagnant air were contributing to an excess of air pollution. The Maryland Department of the Environment issued a “Code Orange” air quality alert across Central Maryland for a third consecutive day Saturday. That indicates unhealthy conditions for sensitive groups, including children, the elderly and people with heart or lung disease.
The heat could also fuel some scattered storms in the afternoon and evening Friday and again Saturday.