Woman On Hike Dies On Hottest Weekend Of Year In Washington Region

A woman hiking the Billy Goat Trail in Montgomery County, Maryland, died Saturday in what authorities believe was a heat-related medical emergency during the the hottest weekend of the year in the Washington region.

Temperatures soared to 97 degrees in the D.C. area, but some spots felt as hot as 115 degrees with humidity. Local governments urged residents to stay indoors or find air-conditioned cooling centers, while extending hours at some swimming pools and other facilities.

The death of the hiker, who has not been identified, is the only heat-related fatality reported so far by Washington-region officials.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services and U.S. Park Police officials responded to emergency calls from the Billy Goat Trail slightly before 2 p.m. Saturday on the most strenuous section of the hike.

They found an unconscious woman who appeared to be in her 30s, said Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, a Park Police spokesman. Officials transported her by helicopter to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where she later died.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services, said he has not been able to confirm cause of death but believes it is heat-related. Hospital representatives could not confirm details of her death.

During the rescue Saturday, authorities evaluated about a dozen other hikers in this section who showed sign of heat exhaustion. Two of them were later transported to medical facilities, Piringer said.

Park officials had posted a sign warning visitors to avoid hiking on the Billy Goat Trail between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on Sunday morning closed Section A, where the hiker was found unconscious.

Montgomery County officials say they’ve rescued overheated hikers from the Great Falls area almost daily over the past several weeks, most commonly from Section A.

If confirmed, this would be the first heat-related death in Montgomery this summer, bringing Maryland’s toll of deaths relating to the extreme temperature from four to five.

Several facilities in the District of Columbia meant to help residents beat the heat were closed Sunday, including the Georgetown Library because building temperatures were too high and Wilson Aquatic Center for several hours because of sewage issues. Takoma and Barry Farm pools were also closed over the weekend because of heating issues. The Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter also had air-conditioning problems, and women seeking a safe place to sleep were instead directed to the Sherwood Recreation Center.

Relief from scorching weather is now in sight.

Monday is shaping up to be partly sunny and slightly less hot with evening storms likely, according to The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. The punishing heat is forecast to break Tuesday, with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the mid-80s.

That was welcome news for Washingtonians looking for an escape.

On Sunday morning, Hannah Roberts-Forest stood in front of her D.C. condominium building with her 1 1/2 year old daughter Kiera waddling barefoot in the shaded pavement.

Kiera would normally be hanging out at the local playgrounds, which were mostly deserted. Instead, she had to settle for a three-block trip to the grocery store on Saturday and perhaps a splash-park if the heat died down by Sunday evening.

“I love summer, and I’ll still take this over the winter,” said Roberts-Forest, 32. “But it hasn’t been fun staying inside multiple days with a toddler who always wants to run around outside.”

On the same block, a stream of senior citizens left their homes for the first time in the weekend to attend Sunday church services.

“I thought about skipping this morning, but I need the word,” said Phyllis Gordon, 70, wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

“I need the word too,” added her friend, Patricia Williams, 75. “But there will be no extracurricular activities.”

Several miles away, Andrea Prestipino stood drenched in sweat outside Banneker Recreation Center, holding a tennis racket and panting as he waited for his Uber ride home to Shaw. He regretted keeping up his usual exercise routine: soccer on Saturday, tennis on Sunday.

“I’m trying to beat the heat, but not really managing,” said Prestipino, who is 34 but said he felt like he was 68. “I’m just going into A/C and staying there.”

Rob Scott, 63, was sitting on a bench in McPherson Park Sunday morning under the shade of tree and soaking in the wind. His doctor told him he needs to walk around more, but he can’t with the heat.

Attempting to stay hydrated, he said he drank 20 bottles of water the day before.

“I’m excited for (the heat) to finally leave,” said Scott, holding a bottle of Arizona ice tea. “But we gotta let nature take its course.”

One woman walking her dog in downtown Washington declined to talk about the weather. She was rushing her spaniel home before the pavement burned its toes.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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