by Sunlen Miller
The National Mall is usually swarming with tourists at this time of year. The extreme heat gripping the region kept most - but not all -- inside today, many tourists inside today.
The few who braved the triple-digit heat touring D.C. today were determined to make the best of their vacation, even with the sizzling weather.
The Badal family, visiting from Chicago, cooled off by eating popsicles on their walking tour outside the U.S. Capitol.
“You’re immodest now with all the sweat and everything,” Dan Badal said as he walked around with his wife outside on the national mall today, “the breeze has been helpful.”
Others ducked into the Smithsonian’s air conditioned museums along the mall to escape the heat.
“I’m trying to jump from museum to museum as quickly as possible so you get into the AC cool rooms,” Sergio Luiz visiting from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida said today.
Others advised walking slow, looking for shade and drinking plenty of water as a way to still see the DC sites without suffering the ill-effects of the dangerously high heat.
But most tourists wouldn’t be free of the heat even if they were back in the hometowns, as the heat wave continues across the country this weekend.
Today there are heat warnings and advisories in twenty-two states across the country. About 115 million people are expected to deal with triple digit temperatures.
And across the country concern is growing with the length of the heat-wave.
Southeast Oklahoma is the driest it’s been since the state began keeping records in 1921. Farmers are worried about business.
"That means less forage production, thinner cows, less grass for them to eat, lower reproduction from those cows, less hay produced in this area,” Tom Smith of Oklahoma State University explains.
There have been twenty-four confirmed deaths nationwide over the course of the heat wave as well.
In St. Louis Missouri today an eight-year-old died in a city housing complex. Relatives claim that – although it’s not confirmed yet – that the tragic death was caused by the heat.
For most of the country this was the hottest day of the year.
The good news is that the weather is supposed to spike and come back down late Sunday in the DC region. But for many, sweltering in the sun as they tour DC, tomorrow can’t come soon enough.