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Record temperatures causes excess-heat warning in I-95 corridor

With the mercury hovering near 100 in the Washington area, residents and visitors search for ways to chill out.

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By Naomi Nix and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Pos family knew when they traveled from the Netherlands to the United States for a month-long vacation that Washington in July would be hot. But they didn't think it would be this hot.

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"It's just our luck that we have to come to Washington on the hottest day ever," said Janyne Pos, 42, who sat under a tree near the White House.

"Hottest day ever" was not far off. Washington's high temperature was 101 degrees. The heat, which was linked to one death and a river rescue, set a record for the date. It was five degrees above the old record.

And the average temperature at Reagan National Airport was 91 degrees. Washington's weather archives appear to show only 14 other days with an average temperature that high.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive-heat warning along the Interstate 95 corridor, as records for the date fell up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Baltimore set a record with 101 degrees. Philadelphia set a record with 97. New York tied a record with 97. At Dulles International Airport, the high was 99 degrees, also a record.

To the south, the mercury soared even higher. Richmond set a record with 105.

The 105 degrees in Norfolk was a record for the date, and it tied the all-time high temperature figure for the city, last reached Aug. 7, 1918.

There were indications of medical problems resulting from the swelter and stickiness.

The Prince George's County fire department said Saturday that heat might have contributed to the death of a 20-year-old male bicyclist riding in Potomac River Park. The man was on a bike path that runs between Oxon Hill Farm and National Harbor when he apparently lost consciousness and fell from his bike. Witnesses reported seeing the man hit his head on a tree as he fell.

The news release said an official cause of death will be determined after an autopsy, but paramedics think heat and humidity might have been factors.

Even the Potomac River seemed to offer little succor. Emergency responders from the District went to the aid of a woman in a rowboat Saturday evening.

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