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Heat wave peaks Thursday, Code Red Alert in effect

Posted at 4:36 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 17:14:08-04

BALTIMORE — Temperatures continue to rise in the Baltimore region. With the heat index temperatures are expected to reach over 100 degrees through Friday.

On Tuesday, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa issued a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert. It will end Friday evening.

“Excessive heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States. The effects of extreme heat are exacerbated in urban areas, especially when combined with high humidity and poor air quality,” said Dr. Dzirasa. “Extreme heat is particularly dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions. I encourage all residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves as well as their families, neighbors, and pets.”

Thursday is anticipated to be the hottest day of the week with a heat index of 108 degrees.

"It is baking," said Michael Burns. "It's cooking outside."

Burns was one of many people taking advantage of the city's cooling centers.

We found him shooting pool at the Sandtown Winchester Senior Center in West Baltimore.

"It’s real nice in here," said Burns. "It’s a lot better than being in the sun."

The center's manager said on days when a Code Red Alert is issued is when the center is busiest.

"We don't just cater to the seniors," said Mary Parker-Collins. "We cater to all populations. Whether it be young, senior or the homeless, if there's a need we're here for the community."

The center also had bottled water, boxed lunches, and fans on hand for those in need.

Also helping people stay hydrated was a group of graduate students from a nearby college. They were traveling around the city giving out water to those in need.

"We're here to pass out water to whoever needs it," said Ray McKetty. "We're giving it to people who look like they need it as well as the vulnerable populations. Whether it's a homeless shelter or a senior citizen shelter we're just trying to help."

The Health Department’s Division of Aging will open the following locations as cooling centers on Tuesday, August 10th through Friday, August 13th, 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
  • Oliver Senior Center 1700 Gay St. (410) 396-3861
  • Sandtown Winchester Senior Center 1601 Baker St. (410) 396-7725
  • Waxter Senior Center 1001 Cathedral St (410)-396-1324
  • Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging 4501 Reisterstown Rd. (410) 396-3535

Residents who want to visit a cooling center to seek relief from the heat are encouraged to call the cooling center prior to arrival to ensure space is available. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents who visit a cooling center must wear a mask and maintain social distancing by remaining at least 6 feet apart from others when possible.

You should not visit a cooling center if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your symptoms.

Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks pools will all be open, except for the pool at Liberty Recreation Center (3901 Maine Ave, - 21207). All guests must register in advance online or by phone to secure a pool reservation. Guests are advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to their reservation to check-in. After a 15-minute grace period, pool staff will accept walk-up participants.

During the Code Red Extreme Heat season, the Baltimore City Health Department recommends that City residents:

  • 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 your 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 heatstroke. 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

City residents who want cooling center information on Code Red Extreme Heat Alert days can call 311. Individuals having a heat-related medical emergency, or who are experiencing the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should call 911.