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Heat emergency declared in DC for Fourth of July weekend as heat index reaches near 100 degrees

Several cooling centers are open throughout the city. View the full list here.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has activated the city's Heat Emergency Plan as the heat index is expected to reach near 100 degrees on Friday.

Friday is the hottest day of the year so far and weekend temperatures are expected to stay in the 90s.

On Friday Christopher Rodriguez, the D.C. Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management , said the heat emergency will be activated in the District through the holiday weekend.

"The heat emergency will be activated in the District this weekend for the Fourth because we know it's going to be hot," Rodriguez said. 

LINKS: Latest Weather | Severe Weather Alerts

Several recreations centers, and schools in D.C. are open to the public to cool off.

Check here to locate a cooling center near you, or for more information on where to go, call 311 or text 311 to 32311. 

Residents who need transportation to a cooling center can call the hyperthermia hotline at 202-399-7093.

“The heat is dangerous, and particularly every summer we encounter several days of very hot temperatures, but we're prepared even amidst a pandemic," Rodriguez said.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, before entering a cooling site, residents will be offered a mask to wear for the entire time they are in the cooling center. People will be directed to an open seat that is marked off with tape to indicate required social distancing measures.

"We are mandating that people wear masks in the cooling centers," Rodriguez said. "Also in the cooling centers themselves there will be designated sort of social distancing markers on the ground and on our seats, so that people are safely social distanced.”

As for being outside during the holiday weekend, Rodriguez is urging people to celebrate at home. 

"On July, 4 there's a potential for some large crowds down on the Mall," Rodriguez said. "We do want to tell people that our strong recommendation is that people celebrate the Fourth at home and to avoid mass gatherings like we might see downtown.”

Residents and visitors are encouraged to take additional steps to beat the heat, including:

  • Staying in the shade or air-conditioning
  • Drinking plenty of water 
  • Visiting a cooling center

Periods of high heat and humidity can cause medical problems such as heat exhaustion and stroke, D.C. officials said.

Learn more about how to stay cool in the District here.

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