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Posted at 02:01 PM ET, 07/20/2011

D.C. heat wave will go from bad to worse: Tips to stay safe (#DCHeat)


A heat wave is making its way across the D.C. area. The heat index is expected to reach 116 degrees by week’s end. (JAHI CHIKWENDIU/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Summers in Washington are well-known for being long, hot and humid, but you know the situation is really bad when the words “brutal” and “extreme” are used to describe what’s going on outside.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicts that the heat index will reach 116 degrees Friday, an upgrade from the original expectation of 109 degrees, the Capital Weather Gang reports. The heat is not expected to break until after the weekend.

If you’ll be in the Washington area, use this list of top five tips for the coming days. (And be sure to use #DCHeat to send us updates or pictures in 140 characters or less.):

1. Know the difference when it comes to National Weather Service’s heat notifications. A heat watch is issued when the heat index is expected to be over 105°F during the day and 80°F at night. A heat advisory occurs when multiple hot days are expected, and an excessive heat warning is issued when conditions are considered dangerous. The Capital Weather team goes into specifics here.

2. Know your do’s and don’ts. For instance, DO wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. DON’T drink alcohol to cool off. The National Weather Service offers a complete rundown here.

3. Locate the cooling centers. Libraries, malls and pools around the District will provide needed relief. Find a complete list here, and call 202-399-7093 if you need transportation to cooling centers. Here’s a list of centers in Maryland and Virginia. (Is your cooling center or pool crowded? Tweet us using #DCHeat.)

4. Remember: You’re not invincible. Heat-related deaths happen, and they’re preventable. Be sure to check on the elderly and sick people you know, stay hydrated and practice safe sun.

5. Have a little fun with the heat. Now that we’re clear on heat specifics, here’s an invitation to send us your summer heat pictures by adding them to this gallery, by Instagram-ing them with your iPhone using #DCHeat, or by tweeting them using the hashtag and any old smartphone. (Here’s an example from The Post’s Eric Athas.) I’ll be on the other end waiting to catch them.

(Bonus!) 6. Get social with resources by following these accounts on Twitter:

By  |  02:01 PM ET, 07/20/2011

 
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