As Temperature Ties Record, Residents Seek Relief

Foster Lewis, 9, cools off from an afternoon of batting practice at McLean Little League Fields. Temperatures in the area climbed into the high 90s yesterday.
Foster Lewis, 9, cools off from an afternoon of batting practice at McLean Little League Fields. Temperatures in the area climbed into the high 90s yesterday. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)   |   Buy Photo
By Bill Brubaker, Megan Greenwell and Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 8, 2008

Forecasters warned us that it was coming but the 98-degree reading at 1:12 p.m. yesterday at Reagan National Airport was still startling.

It tied a record set in 1999, and felt more like summertime in Marrakesh than Manassas, more like Khartoum than Kensington.

"Yeah, it's hot out here," lifeguard John Lawrence said at the Volta Park pool in Georgetown, which was filled earlier in the day to capacity with 110 swimmers. In a hallway, 20 wannabes waited for their chance to take a dip.

With temperatures forecast to be in the upper 90s again today and tomorrow, experts urged people to gulp lots of nonalcoholic drinks, stay indoors and not do anything crazy. Like go for a run on the Mall.

"For some reason, people like to do that when it's hot," said Richard Hitchens, a National Weather Service forecaster. "We're hoping people know they should act a little differently than they do normally. You know, we don't want to see any heatstrokes."

In the District yesterday morning, celebrities and thousands of area residents braved the heat to attend the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Thirty-two runners were treated for heat-related incidents, a D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services official said. Two were briefly hospitalized, including a pregnant woman.

Dozens of Southeast residents were without water or had little water pressure yesterday as a result of residents turning on about 25 fire hydrants in the area. D.C. Water and Sewer Authority spokeswoman Michele Quander-Collins said many residents on streets including Savannah, Martin Luther King Jr. and Alabama avenues were without water. Quander-Collins said some residents complained that as soon as WASA employees arrived to close a hydrant, neighbors would return and open it again. Deborah Boseman of the 900 block of Barnaby St. SE had been without water for almost six hours. "This doesn't make any sense," she said.

However, Quander-Collins said things appeared to improve as the evening went on, and it appeared possible that hydrants were being shut off.

Anticipating the possibility of hydrant problems again today, WASA officials wanted to remind the public that unauthorized hydrant use is unlawful, dangerous an damaging.

Today, smog is again expected to reach Code Orange levels, meaning the air quality will be unhealthy for older or very young people and those exercising strenuously, said the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Tomorrow and Tuesday will be Code Red days: unhealthy air for everyone.

Crews struggled in the heat and humidity to restore power that had been out since Wednesday.

One of those whose power came back was Ron Huebner of western Loudoun County, whose lights blinked on at 3 p.m. He was also without water, because his well had an electric pump. "Three days," he said. "It seems like forever."

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