Temperatures in Baltimore reached the mid-90s by midday Saturday, with the National Weather Service saying the heat index could hit 110 degrees or higher around Maryland later in the weekend.

And the forecast shows little relief, with NWS saying high temperatures will remain in the 90s through Monday with lows falling into the 70s at night.

Baltimore officials extended a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert through Monday.

“Throughout the weekend, we are expecting ongoing dangerously high temperatures and humidity levels, which could lead to potential heat related illnesses,” said the city’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Ihuoma Emenuga.

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Heat index is also known as apparent temperature. It’s what the temperature “feels like” to people outside when you combine the temperature with the humidity.

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Baltimore and the surrounding region are under a “major” risk of heat-related illness through Monday, according to the weather service’s HeatRisk map. Parts of the city are forecast to face “extreme” risk on Saturday, meaning high temperatures, coupled with no overnight relief, can affect anyone without adequate hydration and effective cooling.

Baltimore is already under its second Code Red Extreme Heat alert of 2024 — it started Thursday and will continue through Monday. Emenuga said in a statement that city residents should prioritize safety by staying hydrated, remaining indoors and checking in on vulnerable neighbors.

During extreme heat alerts, residents can visit multiple cooling sites around the city to escape the heat and stay somewhere with air conditioning. Locations include Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services sites, the health department’s Division of Aging and Community Support sites, Enoch Pratt Free Library branches and the ShopRite at 4601 Liberty Heights Ave.

The extreme heat affected animals too, with BARCS Animal Shelter announcing a partial closing Friday evening and Saturday morning due to their broken air conditioning. The shelter is accepting emergency foster homes for cats and dogs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and any willing foster homes must expect large, adult dogs or adult cats.

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Adoptions are closed for the day, and donations are needed, including ice, bottled water and battery-operated fans, according to the BARCS Facebook post. The staff also notified any volunteers who signed up to have a Dog’s Day Out, that they must keep the dogs in places with air conditioning.

BARCS officials said they expect the issues to continue into Sunday.

Some relief may be in sight, though. While the forecast for Sunday is a high of 95 degrees, overnight lows start dropping below 80 degrees Saturday night.

The normal daily maximum temperature for July 5 in the Baltimore region is 89 degrees, according to NWS records. The record high — which has been recorded multiple times, most recently in 1999 — for the date is 102 degrees.

In other parts of the region, Columbia could see a heat index as high as 104 degrees; Annapolis could see a heat index around 107 degrees; and Towson could see a heat index of 105 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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If you’re on the shore, you’re in luck. Ocean City has a forecast high around 80 degrees with mostly sunny weather.

Stay safe in high heat

Stay safe when temperatures reach extreme highs is all about prevention, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

General tips for safety include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Reducing outdoor activity
  • Staying inside between 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Seeking relief in air conditioning

Babies and children should never be left in a closed vehicle, even for a short period of time.

Heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps are spasms that happen during or after exercise in high heat, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Symptoms include cramps, especially in the legs, and flushed, moist skin.

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Heat exhaustion happens when the body is unable to cool itself and can advance to heat stroke. It happens when the body loses water and essential salt. Symptoms include fatigue, pale, moist skin, weakness and nausea.

Heat stroke happens when the body’s ability to regulate is overwhelmed by excessive heat. Symptoms include a high fever, rapid heart rate, warm, dry skin, agitation, lethargy and more.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency and needs to be treated by medical professionals.

As of July 3, there have been four heat-related deaths in Maryland, all in Prince George’s County, according to state data. All have been men. Two were between the ages of 45-64, and two were 65 years or older.

In 2023 there were nine heat-related deaths reported in Maryland all year; there were just five in 2022.

Baltimore Banner staff writer Abby Zimmardi contributed to this report.