Heat Wave Claims 13 Lives; Marylanders Look Forward To Cooler Temperatures

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The heat wave that hit the Mid-Atlantic is showing some signs of letting up with relatively cooler temperatures this week. But the region is still seeing the cumulative effects of the extreme heat. Thirteen people have now died of heat-related illnesses during this stretch of brutally hot days, many of them in Baltimore City.

Meghan McCorkell has more on how officials are trying to keep this dangerous heat from turning even more deadly.

The baking summer sun making everyday tasks nearly impossible.

“It’s murder, man.”

Ralph Showalter’s been roasting all week. He was among more than 700,000 in Maryland who lost power.

“We coped with it. We borrowed some electric from across the street to try to save some vegetables and fruit and everything,” he said.

The heat was on at the African-American Heritage Festival.

“Drinking a whole lot of water and a whole lot of Gatorade,” one visitor said.

“The heat has increased but I’m a person who loves the heat. Bring it on!” said Maxine Rush, who attended the festival.

Organizers set up air-conditioned tents and cooling stations and passed out free water to the crowd. They even had sprinklers to jump in.

“I was sweating bullets. It was so, ugh,” 7-year-old Janae Duppre said.

On Saturday dozens of people were rushed to the first aid tent with heat-related illnesses.

Fire officials say Sunday one person was taken to the hospital from the festival.

“It has been quite some time since we’ve encountered temperatures in excess of 100 degrees day after day after day,” Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Fire Department said.

That excessive heat has taken a deadly turn.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) said on Sunday that between July 2 and July 8, six people have now died from heat related illnesses in Baltimore City. Two deaths each have been reported in Baltimore, Montgomery and Wicomico counties. Harford County had one heat-related death.

“It’s got to be on the worst I’ve ever seen. To have this many days in a row of sustained 100 degree weather is almost unprecedented,” Dr. Matthew Smith of Sinai Hospital said.

Now everyone is trying to stay cool and waiting for this heat wave to end.

Baltimore City sent volunteers door-to-door all weekend with ice and emergency supplies to help people cope with the heat. The city has opened cooling centers all this week and extended hours at public pools. For more information about the cooling centers, click here.

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