D.C. fire officials say calls for heat related issues such as cramps, dehydration or heat stroke were up Tuesday. They are bracing for what's to come as temperatures are expected to reach triple digits later this week.
Randall rec center in Southwest Washington was packed with people swimming and playing hoops, tennis and softball.
They were hitting the diamond, court and pool Tuesday because in a couple days the breezy low 90s will be replaced by searing triple digits.
To cut through the hot, humid air, coaches for one Little League baseball camp in Northwest D.C. are making sure players are taking as many timeouts as turns at bat.
"Baseball is a sport that is played in the heat of the summer and if you use common sense you can beat the heat," said John McCarthy, director of the homerun baseball camp.
From pitchers to pavers, folks forced to spend the day outside in temperatures flirting with the mid 90s are trying water, shade, and even mind games to keep cool.
"Just keep coolness in my head and try to think of cool places," said construction worker Antoine Hart.
The mercury climb is just getting started, as the D.C. region is expected to tout triple digits by the end of the week. For construction crews, that's close to their breaking point.
"Friday's about it, 101 102 that's about it, that's about the limit these guys can take," said construction worker Warren Turner.
Determined tourists braved the warmth, taking in the city's sights before its unbearable. For Gabriella Campana, she's just looking for one oasis after another.
"Most of the time you have to try to find some place cool, you cannot enjoy it that much with this kind of weather," Campana said.
As if the temperatures weren't enough, the stifling humidity really makes the day a drain, John Garrison said. "If it was dry I could make it but the wet, you just keep changing clothes and taking showers and drinking water," he said.
D.C. DMV inspection station is adjusting their hours beginning Thursday. Through next Thursday, it will open at 5 a.m. so they can close at 1 p.m. They say the safety of their employees is at stake.
Trying to stay cool with air conditioning, fans
On Monday, Cherrydale hardware in Arlington had no single box fan left.
"We were sold out by 10 o'clock in the morning yesterday," a worker there said. The store hopes to have a shipment of box fans in by Wednesday.
Pepco urged customers to conserve energy wherever possible, for example by using washers, dryers and dishwasher in the evening hours rather than during the day.
Among the advice is to set air-conditioning thermostats higher and instead rely on electric fans, keeping blinds closed, and turning off non-essential appliances and lights.
"While power supply in the region is expected to be sufficient to meet anticipated high demand, extreme heat also can stress electric system equipment," the utility provider said in a prepared statement.
Heat warnings and advisories were issued in nearly 20 states on Monday.
The heat index hit 119 in Minnesota, 120 in South Dakota and 126 in Iowa, wreaking havoc on health and harvests.
"I mean, we do have dry hot summers here in Oklahoma but we have never seen anything like this," said farmer Hal McKnight.