The Washington Post

Holiday hazards: Sizzling sun, raging rivers & scattered storms

We’ve talked about the potential for scattered strong to severe storms later today and isolated storms later in the weekend, and we’ll certainly keep you updated if/when storms develop. But there are at least two other less obvious, but quite dangerous hazards out there this Memorial Day Weekend...

Don’t Fry Day: Sun safety tips

The Friday before Memorial Day is Don’t Fry Day, as declared by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, and given the hot and sunny weather expected through the weekend, the timing couldn’t be better to remember the importance of protecting ourselves from the sun.

Highlighting the seriousness of the skin cancer risk is this stat provided by the council:

Skin cancer kills one American every hour and is the number one cancer in the nation— outnumbering breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined.

As part of the council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise program encourages people to practice the Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap safety tips to protect your skin and eyes while enjoying the outdoors on Don’t Fry Day and every day:

*Slip on a shirt
*Slop on SPF 15+sunscreen generously
*Slap on a hat
*Wrap on sunglasses

Also, remember that the sun is strongest between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and that water and sand (and snow) reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Check out some more sun safety tips in this pretty slick video from the Don’t Fry Day SchoolTube video contest:

More info on Don’t Fry Day and staying safe in the sun:

Be careful on the Potomac, Rappahannock

While there are no official warnings or advisories out for local rivers at the moment, river safety remains a concern this holiday weekend as water levels remain high after recent rains. In just the last week, there have been two river rescues on the Potomac near Georgetown and one on the Potomac near Darnestown.

This report by NBC4 on the dangers of the Potomac, especially as people flock to it on a hot and humid holiday weekend, reminds us of the tragic story of a mother and daughter who drowned last Memorial Day after entering shallow water.

While a Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) advisory for the Upper Potomac has expired, TBD reports authorities are still “advising boaters to keep a cautious eye on the upper Potomac River, where recent rains had pushed the river to hazardous levels.”

Meanwhile, the Rappahannock River in Virginia is “running dangerously high,” reports WTOP:

“It’s very high and it’s moving very rapidly, bringing all this debris downstream to where people like to swim,” Stafford County spokeswoman Cathy Riddle says. “On the surface, the Rappahannock may appear very calm. You may not see the tree branches that are under the water. You may not see the slippery rocks.”

Dan Stillman is a meteorologist and editor for the Capital Weather Gang. He earned an M.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan.


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