Sorry, folks, but there's only bad news to report on the weather front.
Hazy, hot and humid today. Just like yesterday. Ditto for the rest of the week. It's what meteorologists call the "triple H" forecast.
The high was 98 yesterday at Reagan National Airport--the 11th day this month of above-90 temperatures. Daytime highs for the week are forecast to be in the mid-90s. A regional "Code Red" alert for unhealthful air is in effect today for the second day in a row. An urban heat advisory issued yesterday will probably stretch through today.
"The triple-H forecast for the D.C. area, well, it's just like they go together, like shoes and socks," said Laura Hanlon, an AccuWeather meteorologist. "We won't get too much of a break this week."
The forecast holds out the tiniest bit of hope for tomorrow. That's when meteorologists say a weak cold front from the Midwest may push out some of the stagnant air at the root of the horrible weather.
The front "is creeping in our direction, but it's very weak, and there's not a lot of oomph to it," Hanlon said. Even if it is strong enough to make it to Washington, the respite will be brief. The mercury will drop only a few degrees, to about 90, and then the triple H will kick right back in, she said.
"That doesn't offer any relief, does it?" said Phil Poole of the National Weather Service, which forecasts temperatures in the low to mid-90s Wednesday through Friday.
To cut pollution, officials are asking people to reduce driving, avoid the use of power lawn tools and pump their gasoline after dark.
Rides will be free today on Metrobus routes in Montgomery and Prince George's counties as well as on Montgomery's Ride On and Prince George's The Bus. Virginia also is providing a host of free bus services, including the Fairfax Connector, Alexandria DASH, the Loudoun Commuter Bus and Northern Virginia Metrobus routes.
The experts encouraged everyone to avoid strenuous outdoor activities and, most important, to drink plenty of fluids.
For emergency workers, the extreme weather is a particular challenge. In Germantown yesterday, Montgomery County firefighter Sarah Duckett, of Damascus, was treated for heat exhaustion at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital after battling a town house fire apparently caused by a cigarette butt on an outdoor deck. The fire destroyed at least one floor of the town house on Owl Nest Circle and severely damaged the other two stories, fire officials said.
The District government yesterday reopened five cooling centers and turned on showers rigged to fire hydrants in 13 other locations, most of them public housing areas in Southeast. But the centers and street showers, which are likely to be open today, drew relatively light traffic yesterday, an indication that "folks are staying in," according to Kerry Payne, deputy operations chief of the district's Office of Emergency Management.
In Northwest Washington, the streets of the usually teeming Cleveland Park neighborhood were nearly deserted.
At Uptown Scoop, an ice cream shop that opens about noon, Evin Watson was waiting for his first customer of the day in the early afternoon. The outdoor patio at Pizzeria Uno was empty and likely to remain so, according to general manager Andy Blazejewski. Across the street at Vace, an Italian deli that sells pizza, and the Uptown Bakery, the bakers apparently were too hot to even discuss the weather.
Early last night, a thunderstorm brought cooler temperatures and a few minutes of heavy rain to the Dulles International Airport area. Temperatures at Dulles fell from 91 to 76 degrees between 6 and 7 p.m., and the Weather Service measured .15 inches of rain. The Manassas area also cooled off, but in most other parts of the region, readings remained in the middle or upper 80s well into the evening.
To some people, the blazing sun and high humidity are givens in July, which tends to be more unrelentingly hot than, say, August. Several residents said they didn't intend to alter their plans much or go into hiding until the first frost.
"This doesn't seem that bad, compared to others," said Margaret Bowen, 41, a copy editor at Congressional Quarterly magazine who is enduring her fourth Washington summer.
The heat forced Tom Morrione, 29, who works at a development organization, to cut back his typical Sunday run--from 20 miles to 15. Soaked with sweat, he grabbed some orange Gatorade as he headed for the Metro. But he vowed that the heat wouldn't slow his training for an October marathon.
The latest heat wave began Friday, when the high temperature hit 94. It rose to 95 on Saturday, then 98 yesterday. Normally, the region can expect three dozen days a year with temperatures of at least 90. Since the start of June, there have been 20 such days.
And no, there are no extra points for suffering through the record-breaking temperatures of 102 and 103 after the Fourth of July.
Staff writer Jessie Mangaliman contributed to this report.