Maryland weather: ‘Code red’ heat alert in effect Saturday, with triple-digit heat index forecast in Baltimore

Extreme heat has triggered a "Code red" alert, meaning oppressive conditions with one upside: Public pool hours will be extended and cooling stations opened throughout Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

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.

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 was contributing to an excess of air pollution. On Thursday and Friday, the Maryland Department of the Environment issued a “Code Orange” air quality alert across Central Maryland. 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.

There is no significant cool-down in the forecast. High temperatures are forecast around 90 degrees Sunday and in the upper 80s Monday, and then highs are forecast in the lower 90s going into the July 4 holiday.

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