BALTIMORE (WJZ/WBBM) — A Code Red Extreme Heat Alert has been issued for Sunday in Baltimore, as the heat index is expected to soar to more than 100 degrees.

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said the heat index, which indicates how hot it feels to the human body, will be severe enough to pose a “substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable Baltimore citizens.”

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This is the first Code Red of the season. Temperatures will climb to more than 90 degrees this weekend.

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“Hundreds of people die every year from heat-related illness,” Dr. Wen said. “Heat is a silent killer and a threat to the health of everyone in our city, particularly the young, the elderly and those with chronic diseases. In weather like this, it’s important for everyone to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration.”

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The following cooling centers will be open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
• Northern Community Action Partnership Center
5225 York Road, (410) 396-6084
• Northwest Community Action Partnership Center
3939 Reisterstown Road, (443) 984-1384
• Southeast Community Action Partnership Center
3411 Bank Street, (410) 545-6518

ShopRite Howard Park located at 4601 Liberty Heights Ave. will be open as a community cooling center during regular business hours. The Baltimore City Recreation and Parks will also extend pool hours.

During periods of extreme heat, the Baltimore City Health Department recommends the following for city residents:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Reduce outside activities and stay inside in air-conditioned locations
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles, even for short periods of time
  • Check on older, sick, or frail neighbors who may need help in the heat
  • Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which include:
    • Confusion
    • Hot, dry, flushed skin or cool and clammy skin
    • Lightheadedness
    • Nausea
    • Call 911 immediately if any of these symptoms occur

Tips to keep pets safe in heat:

  • Do not leave a pet in a car: Even with windows rolled down, temperatures inside a car can still be 15 degrees higher than outside, experts say. It is against the law to leave a pet in a car when the temp is above 78 degrees, according to the Cook County animal control department.
  • Keep pets cool outside: Provide water and shade. Animals with short coats or with white or tan fur are susceptible to sunburn, especially on their noses.
  • Get a haircut: For dogs with thick hair, cut those coats to one inch to keep your dog more comfortable while avoiding sunburn.
  • Take care of your dog’s paws: Asphalt and sidewalks are hotter than grass, and dogs’ paw pads are highly sensitive to heat. Walk your dog on grass, dirt or gravel.
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