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Environmentby Brew Editors10:06 amAug 8, 20220

Extreme heat blasting Baltimore again today

High temperatures make for misery citywide, though disparities are well documented: McElderry Park was the hottest city neighborhood, researchers found in 2018

Above: Urban heat island assessment of Baltimore on August 29, 2018 by researchers at Portland State University in Oregon and the Science Museum of Virginia. (cnsmaryland.org)

Baltimore and the region will be sizzling again today, with forecasters predicting a high temperature near 94 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity, bringing the heat index – how hot it feels to the human body – to more than 100 degrees.

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa has issued a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert again today, a warning issued during periods of heat “that are severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable Baltimore residents.”

The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of showers and thunderstorms today after 2 p.m.  And the outlook for tomorrow (a high of 95, a heat index as high as 104 and afternoon thunderstorms) is pretty much the same.

Residents are reminded to exercise caution – and to check on neighbors.

Cooling off with a snowball in West Baltimore. (2020 photo by J.M. Giordano)

Hotter for Some

In Baltimore, as researchers have shown, the effects of that heat are felt more severely in some places than others.

Temperatures across the city can vary widely on a hot summer afternoon, according to a federally funded study that took block-by-block temperature readings in August 2018. (See map above.)

McElderry Park in East Baltimore was the city’s hottest neighborhood, the study by Portland State University in Oregon and the Science Museum of Virginia showed.

Overlaying those results with demographic data, the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism documented how residents experiencing higher temperatures were disproportionately stressed by other factors.

“People who live in the hottest parts of the city are more likely to be poor, to live shorter lives, and to experience higher rates of violent crime and unemployment,” according to Code Red: Baltimore’s Climate Divide.

The project, published in 2019, was a unique journalistic collaboration of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and Capital News Service, along with other partners.

Cooling Centers

The following updates are from the Baltimore City Health Department:

ShopRite Howard Park (4601 Liberty Heights Ave) will be open as a community cooling center during their regular hours today.

Enoch Pratt Free Library – Residents seeking relief from the heat can also visit their local library branch during regular hours.

Health Department’s Division of Aging will open the following locations as cooling centers on Monday, August 8, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.:

• Harford Senior Center, 4920 Harford Rd. (410) 426-4009.
• Hatton Senior Center, 2825 Fait Ave. (410)-396-9025.
• Sandtown Winchester Senior Center, 1601 Baker St. (410) 396-7724.
• Oliver Senior Center, 1700 N Gay St. (410) 396-3861.
• Zeta Center for Health and Active Aging, 4501 Reisterstown Rd. (410) 396-3535.

Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services sites will open the following locations as cooling centers. Days and times vary; please see below:

• My Sister’s Place Women’s Center (women and children only), 17 W. Franklin Street, 10:30 a.m.  – 5:30 p.m.

• Manna House, 435 E. 25th Street, 11:30 a.m – 3:00 p.m.

• Beans & Bread, 402 S. Bond Street, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

• Franciscan Center, 101 W. 23rd Street, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Housing Authority of Baltimore City will open the following locations as cooling centers from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.:

• Brooklyn Homes, 4140 10th Street.

• Cherry Hill Homes. 2700 Spelman Road.

Baltimore City Recreation and Parks pools are open. Registration online or by phone is encouraged.

All guests must register in advance online or by phone to secure a pool reservation. Guests are advised to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to their reservation to check in.

Hot Weather Advice

The Baltimore Health Department recommends that during Code Red emergencies residents should:

– Drink plenty of water.
– Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
– Reduce outside activities.
– Stay inside during the hottest time of day (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.).
– Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned locations.
– Check on older, sick or frail people in the community who may need help in the heat.
– Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles, even for short periods of time.
– Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Call 911 and/or seek medical help immediately if these symptoms occur:
– Confusion
– Nausea
– Lightheadedness
– High body temperature with cool and clammy skin
– Hot, dry, flushed skin
– Rapid or slowed heartbeat.

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