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Heat Wave Blamed For 2 Md. Deaths

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The temperatures are expected to be so high Wednesday that Baltimore City and Baltimore County schools have already announced they’re closing early.

Andrea Fujii reports the heat has already turned deadly.

Think back to a week ago when it was so hot schools closed early.  A student and teacher had to be treated for heat-related illness in Anne Arundel County.  It’s happening again, just as the state of Maryland announces the first deaths caused by heat: a Cecil County man and an Anne Arundel County woman, both over the age of 65.

“We see oftentimes early in the season, before people are used to the heat, we find people aren’t really thinking about that.  They need to check in on their neighbors and the elderly to make sure they’re OK,” said Dr. Clifford Mitchell, Maryland Health Department.

In 2009, six people died.  Last year, the number was up to 32. 

Last week, the heat knocked out power to thousands of BGE customers.  That’s a concern for this week, too.  BGE is prepared and workers are on call.

“There can be issues with the equipment because by nature it’s already hot.  It heats up even more when it’s hot outside because there’s more power flowing through the lines.  It heats up even more because the exterior temperature is hot,” said Linda Foy, BGE.

Firefighters were already feeling the heat, using wet towels to stay cool.  It will be worse Wednesday and Thursday.

Health officials remind us to take it easy.

“Nobody is immune to the problems of heat.  So even if you have the kids outside or you’re working outside in the garden, make sure you take a lot of breaks.  Make sure you go inside and keep cool,” Mitchell said.

Along with the extreme heat often comes poor air quality.  That’s the case for Wednesday and Thursday, which is a problem for anyone who has trouble breathing or has asthma.

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