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Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 07/17/2012

Extreme heat impacts roads, rails, electronics and more


The District registered as the hottest city in the nation Tuesday morning. (Darko Vojinovic - AP)
As the Washington area scorches through yet another day 90-degree-plus temps, the usual hot-weather warnings are making the rounds: (1) Stay cool and hydrated to avoid heat stroke. (2) Keep your pets indoors. (3) Don’t leave children in hot cars. (4) Watch out for elderly neighbors who may need help.

And here are a more heat-induced problems that may not be quite so familiar:

(5) Deflated car and bicycle tires: Extreme heat can impact the air pressure inside tires, resulting in flats and, in some cases, blowouts. Cyclists and drivers can minimize the risk by making sure tires are properly inflated and not worn out, and also watch out for roadway debris from blowouts.

(6) Cracking roadways: Like tires, pavement expands in very hot temperatures. As a result, roads can buckle, crack and sometimes melt.


A “heat kink” in a Metro track. (WMATA)
(7) Buckling Metro rails: “Heat kinks” on railways are fairly common hot weather occurrences. Kinks caused problems for Metro in the summers of 2010 and 2011, and investigators believe a kink was responsible for the recent Green Line derailment. To avoid accidents, Metro and other agencies like MARC and VRE increase the number of track inspectors on the rails and institute speed restrictions for trains.

(8) Malfunctioning electronics: Electronic devices are also susceptible to high temperatures, which can warp the circuitry, keyboard and screens. Heading to the pool? Don’t leave your iPad on a metal table. Parking your car? Don’t leave your cell phone or GPS device behind. The trunk of your car may seem shady, but temperatures still skyrocket back there.

Tell us: Have you dealt with these or other hot weather problems? Share your experiences in the comments below.

By  |  12:19 PM ET, 07/17/2012

 
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