AUGUSTA — If you think it has been record-breakingly hot outside, you are not wrong.

On Sunday, just two days after the start of autumn, the temperature in Augusta reached 87, beating the record of 85 degrees that had stood since 1961.

Monday’s high reached 88 degrees, breaking the record of 85 degrees, set in 2007.

But no records are in jeopardy for Tuesday. The record high of 91 degrees was also set in 2007.

“Maybe we’ll hit the mid-80s,” National Weather Service meteorologist James Brown said.

The warm temperatures, which are expected to continue well into the week, have been moving into the area from the south and west – Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, weather service meteorologist Chris Legrow said. That section of the Midwest has been experiencing its own heat wave with the temperatures reaching the 90s.

Portland’s high Monday reached 83 degrees, far short of the 88-degree record set in 1970. Weather service meteorologist Stacie Hanes said an afternoon sea breeze kept temperatures in check. Tuesday’s forecast for Portland calls for a high of about 82. Things should start to cool down in Portland after that, with a high of 78 Wednesday and 73 Thursday.

“We’re having warm weather because of bad weather elsewhere,” Legrow said.

Hurricane Maria, now a Category 1 storm, is currently spinning around the Atlantic Ocean about 315 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Legrow said weather conditions north of the hurricane are conducive to the sunny skies across Maine.

Maine is on track for a typical foliage season despite the September heat, said Gale Ross, fall foliage spokesperson for the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The northernmost regions in Maine are expected to hit peak foliage from this weekend to next, and central Maine is expected to reach its peak by the Columbus Day weekend in mid-October.

“In the past three years, we have been a little late because the weather has been so warm leading up to the season,” she said.

Dry conditions both this year and last have stressed some trees that have dropped their leaves early. But overall, Ross said, the state’s forests are in good condition, although they could use some rain.

For the best color, the daytime temperature ought to be in the 60s and the nighttime temperature ought to be in the 30s, she said.

Legrow said the overnight low Sunday was 64 degrees. Normally, the daytime high is 66 degrees and the overnight low is 47 degrees.

The warm weather is stretching the summer season past the autumnal equinox, and for some farmers it’s a bonus.

Rick Kersbergen, professor of sustainable dairy and silage with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office, said the corn silage crop has been behind this year and the hot weather is helping it mature.

“Most of the corn grown in Maine is for corn silage,” Kersbergen said. The whole plant is harvested and chopped up and stored in a silo or silo pit for fermentation. That’s what farmers feed cows over the winter.

“We were a little bit behind on growing degree-days,” Kersbergen said. That’s an accumulation of heat-days during the summer.

“This hot weather is allowing them to catch up,” he said.

In Farmington, where the corn maze is being set up at Sandy River Farm, Busie York said this late blast of warm weather is helping his soybeans and corn mature.

“We had a cold May and didn’t get (the crops) in early enough to get the full benefit of the summer,” York said.

The weather has no impact on the corn maze itself; the Corn Maize and Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch will be open weekends in October, and York said that won’t be harvested until the end of October.

Legrow said this weather pattern is expected to hang around until later this week when a cold front is expected to move in from the west Thursday or Friday, bringing more seasonal temperatures and maybe some rain.

“It doesn’t look like widespread rain,” he said. “Just some showery areas associated with the front.”

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

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