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Heading to AFRAM this weekend? Prepare for the heat in Baltimore

Dangerous heat expected in Baltimore for AFRAM weekend
Dangerous heat expected in Baltimore for AFRAM weekend 02:17

BALTIMORE -- AFRAM this year comes as WJZ has declared another Alert Day because of dangerously high temperatures.

To ensure attendees this weekend are safe and cool, AFRAM organizers have some precautions in place around the festival.

The Forecast

On Friday, the heat wave intensified, with high temperatures reaching the mid-90s. Factor in a bit more humidity, and the feels-like temperature will be closing in on 100 degrees. 

Baltimore City declared a Code Red extreme heat alert for the weekend due to the dangerous temperatures. 

Be sure to take frequent breaks from being out in the sun, drink plenty of water, and dial back or postpone any intense activities. 

The weekend will feature the worst of this first heat wave of the season. Highs on Saturday will top out in the upper 90s. Sunday's high temperatures will get close to 100 degrees. 

Both afternoons will feel like temperatures near 105. If you're headed to AFRAM, you should take advantage of the shady spots, water, and cooling stations, and possibly reduce the amount of time you spend outdoors. 

Isolated strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible Sunday afternoon and early evening during the peak heat of the day.

Ways to stay cool during AFRAM

Baltimore City Recreation & Parks along with the Office of Emergency Management will provide the following: 
  • Emergency water distribution 
  • Cooling Stations and misting apparatus are available for all attendees
  • Buses to serve as emergency cooling stations on-site
  • Booths with sunscreen will be available
Mayor Brandon Scott and the Baltimore City Health Department also have some words of advice to keep in mind this weekend.

The most important thing to do if you're going to AFRAM is to stay hydrated, and  drink lots of water.

There will be free water available all around the park, as well as cooling buses and misting stations.

Kim Eshleman, the director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response in the city's health department, said it may even be a good idea for you to bring water with you to AFRAM.

Other heat safety tips:

  • Wear (and regularly reapply) sunscreen.
  • Cover your head with a hat wide enough to protect your face. 
  • Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will also help you to stay cool.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. 
  • In the heat, avoid drinks and substances that can exacerbate dehydration. These include:
    • Drinks containing caffeine, including tea and coffee 
    • Alcohol
    • Tobacco and cannabis-products

Eshleman said finding breaks from the heat is really important.

Scott Thursday said attendees should take advantage of the resources AFRAM organizers have put in place to ensure everyone has a good time at the festival this year.

"Find shade where you can find it in the park, be safe. We're gonna have all those things out there for you," he said. "Make sure you're taking care of yourself and utilizing those things as we all have a good AFRAM time."

Lookout for signs of dehydration

As you sweat throughout the day, the liquids you are losing need to be replaced to avoid dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • A dry mouth 
  • Dizziness, confusion, or slower movements 
  • Feeling lightheaded or having headaches

Another concern is heat exhaustion.  Anne Arundel County firefighter Stephen Bishop says there's a few visible signs to look out for. 

"You see them moving a bit slower, they start turning red, they stop sweating, they're breathing a lot heavier…these are all signs and symptoms that you're getting into the later stages of heat exhaustion," Bishop said. 

The best kind of clothing to wear in this weekend's heat is light and loose.

The city is on a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert until Monday. Eshleman said older adults and younger children are the most susceptible to heat-related issues.

Staying alert and aware

  • Sign up to receive BMORE ALERT emergency notifications from the Office of Emergency Management. Text BMOREALERT to 888777, and reply back with YES. 
  • Plan to monitor local weather and news. 
  • Have a backup way to charge your cell phone. 
  • Understand the types of alerts you may receive and plan to respond when you receive them: 
    • A WATCH means Be Prepared ! 
    • A WARNING means Take Action !
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