Friday July 19, 2013 | 09:30 AM
Posted by David Epstein

Cold snaps and heat waves have their peaks and today is the peak of this heat wave.  Temperatures this afternoon are going to hit 100F in a few spots and get into the upper 90s in many.  When you combine the heat and the humidity, today will be the most uncomfortable day of the summer.   Although the coast hasn't had an official heat wave, some inland areas have been at or above 90F all week. Fryeburg hit 90 again yesterday and will be close to 100F this afternoon.

I'll be updating the details of the heat and the storms tomorrow on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

The humidity is about as high as it can get in New England. Even though this hasn't been an official heat wave in Portland, the humidity has been relentless.  At 5:30 this morning, while walking the dogs,  I was already schvitzing (Yiddish for sweating) and one of the rat terriers jumped into the pond and went swimming.   That breed of dog is not one to typically go for a swim.

When temperatures near the century mark it's time to take notice and this afternoon will be one such day.  Our record in Portland stands at 95F set back in 1982 and a new record of 96F or 97F is certainly possible.  We haven't been this warm in two years.   Working outside at 96F is very different than 86F, so take it easy today. 

Tomorrow will be another hot day with highs in the upper 80s to near 90F.  The big weather news tomorrow will be the possibility of severe weather during the day.  The morning will be a sunny and warm, perfect for the beach.   I think that thunderstorms will start to fire up across the western part of the area during the early part of the afternoon and then  move to the coast.   The image below shows one model's prediction of the radar tomorrow around 5PM.  Notice some storms will have moved offshore by then and there may be more entering Maine from the northwest. The actual line of storms may be earlier or later.  Once the storms move through, the intense heat and humidity will finally come to an end.  If you have plans tomorrow they could be interrupted by the storms anytime after 1 PM.

When we get extreme weather like this I tend to start wishing it to be over.  I don't like my mind using that line of thinking, but it seems to be a coping mechanism to deal with temperatures this high.  I do the same thing in winter when the highs are around 10F and it's well below zero each morning. (I spent much of January teaching at Colby in Maine) 

A the start of this heat spell my mind was already onto Sunday, a day that will be sunny, bright, dry and much cooler.  The problem is that by thinking about what lies ahead, I miss what is here.  This thought might be a bit Zen for some of you, but indulge me for minute.  We, myself included, keep wishing for the "better weather" and the "perfect day" and looking into the future.   We do it with holidays, vacations, work projects, and more. On Monday, I found myself hoping for the week to fly by.  Life moves fast enough without trying to make it move faster.  

I have been consciously working on living more in the moment.  During this heat wave I decide to try to change my thinking and enjoy each day in spite of the heat.   There are after all, some benefits to all the heat.   The high temperatures prevent me from working outside for 14 or 15 hours and allow me the opportunity to get things done inside.  Next week, when the weather is nicer, I  can take advantage of being outside  without the worry of what I am not accomplishing indoors. 

 I might have taken this idea of enjoying each day to an extreme with a smart phone app.  There is an app that lets me count down to a certain date.  My app this morning reads 14942, that is the number of days left until I turn 90.  It doesn't really seem like that many days, so I better enjoy this one.  I hope you do too.

All this heat is taking its toll on us as well as plants and animals. I recommend using the early morning to check the garden. When it gets back into the 90s by mid-morning, it’s going to be harder to work outside. A few suggestions would be to stake up perennials, weed, weed, weed, and notice which areas of the garden still might need some added water. If you want to plant some new seedlings, there is certainly time to do that. The video below shows how I am growing lettuce in containers right now. I have a tray of seedlings I started two weeks ago which can be place in the ground in about a week.

I'll be updating the details of the weather on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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