Most Read: Local

Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 06/08/2011

Heat wave and poor air quality grip East Coast

Temperatures at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday. Many regions - shaded in dark red - had already exceeded 85 degrees in the mid-Atlantic and Tennesse Valley. (Unisys Weather)
On Tuesday, more than 200 high temperature records (and about 100 record high minimum temperatures) were set mainly in the Midwest. Minneapolis surged to 103, its hottest day since July 31, 1988 and the second hottest June temperature on record. Minneapolis meteorologist Paul Douglas indicates only five days have been hotter in the Twin Cities since 1871. reports the following other cities set record highs: Madison (96), Milwaukee (97), Green Bay (96), Wichita (101), St. Louis (96) and Memphis (98).

Today, the dome of hot air shifts East, with record heat a possibility from the Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast (see useful interactive maps at showing where record highs are within reach today and Thursday). Philadelphia and New York City may threaten existing records of 95 degrees. And Washington, D.C. and Baltimore may also approach record highs of 98 and 97 (from 1999).

Poor air quality coincides with many of the areas contending with extreme heat. Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups (code orange) in large parts of the Ohio and Tennesse Valleys and the mid-Atlantic.

Reports “Air quality on Thursday is expected to be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange or over 100 on the Air Quality Index) in more than 80 cities including Baton Rouge, La., Indianapolis, Detroit, Nashville, Tenn., Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Newark, N.J., Richmond, Va., and Atlanta.” It advises children, older adults and other sensitive groups (such as those with asthma or respiratory disease) cut back on strenuous activity.

Some heat safety tips:

* The best protection from heat is air-conditioned environments

* If you must be outside, drink plenty of water and wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. Take it easy.

* Never leave a child or pet unattended in a parked car

* Check on older adults and the sick to make sure they are in cool environments

Let’s conclude with a cool image: Snow on Independence Pass coming into Aspen Snowmass in Colorado

By  |  11:36 AM ET, 06/08/2011

Categories:  Extreme Heat, U.S. Weather, Latest

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company