The Washington area, which shivered through a bit of winter Sunday, roasted yesterday in what felt like summer's full blast.
After dipping to a record-low 39 degrees on Sunday morning, the temperature at National Airport climbed yesterday to a July-like 89, missing the 1950 record for the date by 4 degrees. At Dulles International Airport the temperature hit 90, breaking the record of 88 set in 1966.
The above-normal temperatures were brought on by a high-pressure system off the Southeast coast. The heat and humidity are expected to be above normal in the Mid-Atlantic states today. A cold front is expected move into the northern parts of Maryland and Virginia tonight and to move south tomorrow, bringing slightly cooler temperatures.
In Baltimore, the mercury hit 96 degrees by midafternoon yesterday, breaking a record of 92 set in 1949. Record-breaking highs were also registered in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.
Plumbing company employe Bob Gordon spent the day digging an eight-foot-deep hole in the middle of 11th Street NW and contemplating a cold beer after work.
"I'm sweating off the beer I drank all weekend," said Gordon, 27, as he chopped at the hard clay soil in search of a sewer line. "And it's a cold beer I'm going to have when I get off today."
Other people whose jobs kept them outdoors had worked out different solutions for staying cool under a hot sun.
"I drink cold sodas," said beer truck driver Larry Douglas, 44, wiping his forehead as he wheeled cases of Lowenbrau beer into the Clifton Market at 14th and Clifton streets NW.
"The hotter it gets, the longer I work making deliveries," Douglas said. "Heat is just an occupational hazard for me."
In Georgetown, Larry Thomas, 31, leaned into his green jackhammer and crunched the curb at 31st and M streets NW. Oblivious to the pedestrians who gingerly crossed the vibrating sidewalk with hands to their ears, Thomas stared straight down at the bit as it jumped about the cement near his dust-covered work boots.
"I've been doing this for 10 years," he said. "I'm used to the heat. I just have to remember to drink lots and lots of water."
Bernard Tillman, 38, a vendor at Connecticut Avenue and K Street NW, was hoping to sell his 200 pairs of sunglasses as the bright sunlight turned the sidewalk an eye-squinting white.
"Sales are slow today," he complained. "Everyone has sunglasses for sale."
Tillman, who puts in a 12-hour day on downtown sidewalks selling sunglasses and pantyhose, said he survives the heat by drinking juices.
And then there was 75-year-old Theodore Gipson, who retired 10 years ago from his job plastering walls.
He sat quietly on a folding chair beneath a big elm tree near Ninth and P streets NW.
"This is the best tree in all of Washington to sit under," he said as he waved to friends passing by in cars.
"I used to live right over there where the parking lot is," he said, pointing at a dusty lot half filled with aged cars. "And my front door opened onto this tree. I've been sitting here for more than 45 years. All you need to keep cool is a good tree."