The blistering weather forced the cancellation of summer events and children’s activities; some people even steered clear of public pools because they provided little relief.
Local authorities had reported no heat-related deaths, but at least 25 people nationwide have died in the heat wave.
On Friday, Dulles International Airport hit 105 degrees, the hottest there ever; Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport’s mark of 106 was its second-hottest daily temperature ever; and Reagan National Airport’s reading of 102 was one degree shy of its record for the date.
Diane Woods, a management and program analyst with the Internal Revenue Service, drank five bottles of water Friday morning but still wound up in the emergency room. Woods, 57, of San Diego, was touring the Mall but had to lie on the grass because she was so dizzy. She found a nearby police officer who called an ambulance to pick her up.
“I felt terrible and scared. My throat was constricting. I was very frightened,” Woods said in a telephone interview as she received an intravenous drip at Georgetown University Hospital. “I thought because I had so, so much water, that would take care of it. But didn’t help at all.”
In response to the heat, Metro made an exception to its no-drinking policy and is permitting travelers to carry bottles of water on trains, buses and in stations until the system closes Sunday night.
From Baltimore to New England, the band of heat drove temperatures into the triple digits. The Weather Channel reported that New York’s Central Park was 104 degrees Friday afternoon, the hottest reading there since 1977, and that the 104-degree reading in Atlantic City, N.J., was the hottest there since 1969.
Other cities reached all-time highs: Hartford, Conn., notched 103 degrees; Newark reached 108; and Boston, which hit 103, had its hottest day since 1926.
Saturday’s temperatures were expected to remain unforgiving, hitting as high as 103, which would surpass the record for the date: 101 at National Airport. One reprieve Saturday might come in the form of scattered thunderstorms in the late afternoon or evening, which could cool things down.
Hospitals around the region admitted patients with a array of heat-related illnesses. At Inova Loudoun Hospital, Ron Waldrop, medical director of pediatrics, estimated that 10 to 20 people arrived both on Thursday and Friday with signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Many complained of stomach ailments.
“You get a few days in the low 90s, then suddenly it jumps around 100, and you get a lot more sick people,” Waldrop said. “This may be the hottest time I’ve seen in Loudoun.”