The City of Alexandria is urging residents to take advantage of public pools, typically open until 7 p.m., and air-conditioned recreation centers, which close at 9 p.m. At one pool in the Del Ray neighborhood, 300 people signed in, a larger number than managers see on a typical Friday in summer.
Ever since the heat wave hit the area this week, Inova Alexandria Hospital's ER has experienced a boost in heat emergencies, with an average of five patients treated for heat-related illness every day.
Alexis Yero, a construction worker operating a large crane in Old Town, said he could not survive working in the direct sunlight for six straight hours.
"It feels like 120 to 150 degrees," he said from under his large golf-sized umbrella rigged above his seat.
Outside one shop on Union Street, a store owner set up a makeshift mister, with a small line of water blown onto the sidewalk by fan. Some shoppers stopped to cool off, appreciating the convenient relief.
The excessive heat warning extended into Arlington, where Kela Seals endured a punishing track and field workout in her socks. She kept to the turf, complaining that the track was scorching her feet.
A few blocks away at the American Inline Summer Camp, twenty children rode skateboards in the sun for several hours. Camp director Austin Berger strictly enforced water breaks every 15 minutes for 10 minutes under the shade of a tent. Five-year-old Gael Hoben explained, "When I fall on the ground, it hurts my hands, like touching hot metal."
Attendance at the camp was lighter Friday due to the heat, and 7 year old Carson Driskill said his parents gave him the option to come inside sooner. "My mom and dad asked me if I wanted to leave early and I almost said yes. The best would be my skateboard in a pool."
Children are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion because they tend to skip hydration, especially if they're having fun.
Children's Medical Center in the District also reported an increased number of children being admitted to the ER complaining of dehydration and dizziness.