It’s hot in D.C. Here’s where to stay cool. (2024)


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UPDATE: D.C. announced that some of the city’s public pools and recreation centers will be open Wednesday for the Juneteenth holiday.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia face an impending heat wave that will crescendo from highs in the low 90s Monday and Tuesday to temperatures nearing 100 Friday through Sunday. The District has a chance to hit temperatures in the triple digits for the first time since 2016.

With temperatures around 10 to 15 degrees hotter than average for this time of year, local governments advise residents to make use of public spaces like libraries and splash parks to stay cool.

The heat wave will begin picking up on Wednesday, when government spaces will close in celebration of Juneteenth. Here’s where to seek refuge from the heat:

The District

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D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) implemented an extended Heat Emergency Plan from Monday to Friday, and announced Tuesday that outdoor pools and recreation centers will be open on Wednesday, Juneteenth, to help people beat the heat. The city declares the plan when the temperature or heat index in the District is 95 degrees or higher, activating 134 cooling centers across D.C.


D.C.’s cooling centers include day centers, indoor and outdoor pools, low-barrier shelters, public libraries, recreation and community centers, senior wellness centers, youth centers and spray parks. An interactive map allows users to click on cooling centers to see their hours of operation, address and phone number. Users can also enter their address, and the map will identify nearby cooling centers.

However, not all cooling centers operate seven days a week. D.C. public pools started the season with a weekend-only schedule, but Bowser said Tuesday that select D.C. pools will be open Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for the Juneteenth holiday. The outdoor pools open Wednesday are Banneker, Francis, Hearst, Upshur, Langdon, Randall, Rosedale, Ridge Road and Oxon Run.

After Wednesday, pools will be closed again until Saturday, when they will shift to weekly six-day schedules. Spray parks offer an alternative and are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.


The following recreation centers are open Wednesday: Columbia Heights Community Center, Stead Recreation Center, Palisades Community Center, Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center, Raymond Recreation Center, North Michigan Park Recreation Center, Trinidad Recreation Center, Benning Stoddert Community Center, Deanwood Recreation Center, Bald Eagle Recreation Center and Fort Stanton Recreation Center.

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What extreme heat does to the body

It’s hot in D.C. Here’s where to stay cool. (1)It’s hot in D.C. Here’s where to stay cool. (2)

The human body is resilient to heat, but the combination of heat and humidity (called the wet bulb temperature) can make it harder to cool down. Here’s what extreme heat does to the body as some parts of the world could become too hot to survive.

Extreme heat kills more people in the United States than any other weather hazard.

When there’s a heat wave, there are precautions you can take. There are foods you can eat (and should avoid) to help keep cool. Here’s how to know if it’s too hot to exercise, or too hot to take your dog for a walk.


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Montgomery County

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Montgomery County refers its residents to its 21 library branches and 22 recreation centers as free ways to cool off, while public pools provide relief from the heat at a low cost, said Montgomery County Climate Adaptation Program Manager Mara Parker.

Parker said that if pool attendees can prove residency in Montgomery County through documents such as a driver’s license or utility bill, admission costs $5 for children, $6 for seniors and $7 for adults.


“We want to particularly emphasize for residents who are not able to get out of the heat during the day — those working in construction, landscaping, those who don’t have the luxury of getting out of the heat — it’s really important for them to lower their core body temperature at night,” Parker said. “Pools are a great way to lower your core body temperature in a fun way.”

Although libraries, indoor pools and rec centers are set to close for Juneteenth, Parker said outdoor pools will remain open. If the temperature or heat index reaches 105 degrees or higher, Parker said the county will declare a heat emergency, and facilities that would usually close for a federal holiday would remain open. However, the National Weather Service does not predict that temperatures on Wednesday will reach Montgomery County’s threshold for a heat emergency.

Prince George’s County

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Prince George’s County provides an interactive map to direct residents to the nearest cooling center. From ice rinks to community centers, the county offers 19 places to cool off. The map also includes libraries and senior centers where residents can take refuge from the heat.


The hours of each cooling center vary and can be found on the map.

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How bad is heat risk near you?

We’re tracking dangerous heat waves across the United States daily. Look up your city to see extreme heat risks near you.

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Fairfax County

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The Fairfax County website designates libraries, community and recreation centers, human services regional offices and homeless shelters as cooling centers.

The county’s 23 public library locations can be found through the county’s library locator. Each branch’s hours vary, according to the Fairfax County library webpage. All 13 community centers are open Monday through Friday, with most operating on Saturdays. The county’s four human services regional offices operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Libraries, community centers and county buildings will close Wednesday for Juneteenth. However, all rec and visitor centers will remain open to people looking to cool off inside.

Arlington County

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Similar to the other counties, Arlington refers its residents to libraries, community centers, spray parks and shopping malls to stay cool. The county’s website includes a map displaying all eight library locations and hours, as well as a list of community centers and spray parks.

Although all Arlington County libraries and community centers will close on Wednesday to honor Juneteenth, all spray parks will open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center will open for abbreviated hours from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.


An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that D.C. public pools and recreation centers will be open on Juneteenth. Only some public pools and recreation centers will be open Wednesday. The article has been corrected.

More on extreme heat

Use our tracker to see your city’s extreme heat risk.

How to stay safe: It’s better to prepare for extreme heat before you’re in it. Here’s our guide to bracing for a heat wave, tips for staying cool even if you don’t have air conditioning, and what to know about animal safety during extreme heat. Traveling during a heat wave isn’t ideal, but here’s what to do if you are.

Understanding the science: Sprawling zones of high pressure called heat domes fuel heat waves. Here’s how they work. You can also read more about the link between weather disasters and climate change, and take a look at what extreme heat does to the human body.

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It’s hot in D.C. Here’s where to stay cool. (2024)
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