Ways to beat the heat in the DMV: cooling shelters open throughout DC

WASHINGTON, DC – The District activated their heat emergency plan on Monday, as the heat is expected to linger overnight with the low only falling into the mid and upper 70’s.

When the temperature or heat index in the District reaches 95 degrees, District Government, through the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), activate cooling centers for residents to seek relief.

City leaders are urging residents and visitors to take extra steps to beat the heat by staying in the shade or air-conditioning, drinking plenty of water and visiting a cooling center.

Mayor Muriel Bowser also announced Monday that she teamed up with D.C. Parks and Recreation to make sure District pools open an hour early.

Showers and storms will be possible Tuesday with a Marginal Risk for severe weather south of the D.C. Metro area. Storm chances will be higher Wednesday as a cold front works through the area.

The District is offering the following tips to stay safe during the heat:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If you need shelter, follow the official information given to you by the District Government to find the nearest available shelter in your area.
  • Watch for symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
    • Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms usually occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign the body is having trouble with the heat.
    • Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Heat exhaustion often affects athletes, firefighters, construction workers and factory workers. It also affects those wearing heavy clothing in a hot, humid environment. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and exhaustion.
    • Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures. Click here for more information on heat related illness.
  • Limit exposure to the sun, and avoid hard work between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Apply sunscreen (SPF 15-30 is recommended) at least 20 minutes before going outside.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid drinks with caffeine.
  • Eat well-balanced, light meals.
  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
  • Check on your pets frequently and encourage them to drink water.
  • Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Visit one of the District’s cooling centers located throughout the city, if you do not have access to a cool-temperature location.
  • Do not leave children or pets in vehicles.

Showers and storms will be possible Tuesday with a Marginal Risk for severe weather south of the D.C. Metro area.

Storm chances will be higher Wednesday as a cold front works through the area.