Get ready, Thursday is going to be hot.
The combination of heat and humidity will have parts of Maine feeling 100 degrees on Thursday, prompting cities to open cooling centers and remind people to take precautions against soaring temperatures.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for parts of Maine, including interior York and Cumberland counties, from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday. The advisory covers a wide geographic area beginning at Sanford, through Norway and Lewiston, to Augusta, Skowhegan, Bangor and Millinocket. Coastal areas from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Portland to Rockland and Bar Harbor will not be subject to a heat advisory, the weather service said.
The advisory warns that the heat index will be in the mid to high 90s and temperatures and humidity could cause heat-related illnesses.
It could be the hottest day so far this year in some places, the weather service said. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 80s and 90s across most of Maine, and could exceed 95 degrees in Sanford. High humidity will make it even hotter.
“With the amount of humidity it will feel like it will be close to 100 degrees,” said Stephen Baron, meteorologist with the Weather Service’s Gray Office.
The temperature is expected to reach 91 in Augusta, putting the city in a position to potentially break its record of 94 degrees set in 1988. The Aug. 4 record in Portland is 93 degrees, also set in 1988, but that record will likely not be broken Thursday, with the weather service predicting a high of 85 degrees for Portland. The average August 4 temperature in both cities is 80 degrees, Baron said.
A cold front will arrive Thursday evening and should reduce the humidity, but the heat will persist through the weekend. According to the weather service, Portland had endured 15 straight days of temperatures above 80 degrees on Wednesday. This warm spell tied a record set in 1988. The record will likely be broken on Thursday.
During a hot time like this, Baron said, it’s important that people avoid preventable heat-related deaths by knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
HEAT DISEASE CAN BE DEADLY
Signs of heat stroke include high body temperature, rapid and strong pulse, headache, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is an emergency and 911 should be called immediately, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Signs of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; a rapid, weak pulse; muscle cramps; nausea or vomiting; fatigue or weakness and dizziness. If you have heat exhaustion, you should move to a cool place, loosen your clothes, sip water, and put cool, damp clothes on your body, the CDC says.
The weather service advises people to wear light, loose clothing, drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned spaces, stay out of the sun, and watch relatives and neighbors. If possible, they should reschedule activities for early morning or early evening.
Yarmouth Fire Chief Mike Robitaille said he was closely monitoring the weather forecast. The extreme heat poses physical challenges for firefighters, who must stay hydrated and alert.
Robitaille decided to cancel Thursday’s firefighter training session, a decision he made so he could keep his firefighters indoors where it’s cooler and they can stay hydrated.
“We always watch the weather, whether it’s extreme heat or extreme cold. We are very aware of the conditions,” said Robitaille.
If Yarmouth is called in for a house fire or even a brush fire on Thursday, he won’t hesitate to call in mutual aid reinforcements from surrounding towns. With the support of neighboring communities, firefighters will be able to take more water breaks.
“I’m always concerned when you have heat like what they’re predicting,” Robitaille said.
South Portland Fire Chief Jim Wilson said people who work outdoors should plan to take extra breaks, stay hydrated and monitor those around them for signs of heat stroke. For those who need a break from the heat, the city has provided three cooling centers that will be open during the hottest hours of the day.
“Fortunately, we only have this time once or twice a year,” he said.
OPEN COOLING CENTERS
South Portland Chill Centers will be at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Main Library Branch on Broadway from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Eastpoint Christian Church on Clarks Pond Parkway from 10 a.m. at 14h.
Unfortunately, there are no cattle cooling centers.
Tim Leary, who operates Leary Farm in Saco, said he would take precautions to ensure his six cows are kept as cool as possible.
“The short answer is: make sure they have plenty of water and shade,” Leary said when asked about the steps he would take to protect his livestock.
Leary Farm, which grows vegetables, operates farms on Flag Pond Road and Portland Road in Saco. Leary said the hot and dry conditions were concerning. Field workers have to pick the vegetables early in the morning when it’s cooler, but he worries about having enough water to irrigate his crops.
“We’re doing our best, but I’m worried,” Leary said.
Other cities in the state are also opening cooling centers to help residents beat the heat.
The City of Portland says a chill center will be open at the Portland Public Library at 5 Monument Square from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Masks are mandatory. The city also says wading pools are a good place to cool off between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Wading pools are located at Kiwanis Pool, Peppermint Park, Payson Park, Stone Street Playground, and Deering Oaks Ravine.
The Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The City of Naples office will serve as the cooling center from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, according to a list maintained by the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
In York County, the Lebanon Fire-EMS is set to open a cooling center at Hanson School at 8 a.m. Thursday and has asked residents to let firefighters know if they have any concerns or need help. ‘assistance.
In Augusta, a cooling center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the Augusta Civic Center on Community Drive.
The weather could be a challenge for local recreation departments running summer camps at schools without air conditioning or limited access to cool spaces.
DAY CAMPS FOG
Biddeford Recreation Department staff spent Wednesday developing contingency plans for its Safari and Outdoor Summer Bonanza camps, which serve 150 children and are based in schools without air conditioning. Principal Carl Walsh said he had to find other spaces in different air-conditioned school buildings, but it is difficult to accommodate so many children.
The department would have canceled the program for the day if it couldn’t keep the children cool, but that’s difficult because it forces parents to scramble to find care for their children, Walsh said.
On many hot days, the camp staff can organize water activities, swim at the Rotary Park beach or go to the movies to break up the day and give everyone a break.
“At the end of the day, New England is what it is. We’re not prepared for a bunch of really hot days in the facilities that we use,” Walsh said. maybe closer in the years to come.”
In Portland, two of the city’s three day camps are held in air-conditioned buildings. These camps have outdoor activities planned, including a slide and a trip to the Kiwanis pool, but extra precautions will be taken. There will be many water cuts, frequent reapplication of sunscreen and shade canopies will be used.
Portland’s third camp was originally scheduled to spend Thursday at the beach, but campers will go to the movies instead.
Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.
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