Bradley Taggett takes a sip of ice water during a break while working in the heat Wednesday on a road crew that was paving Smutty Lane in Saco. Some places in Maine could feel like 100 degrees Thursday, which could be the hottest day this year in some locations. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Get ready, it’s going to be a scorcher on Thursday.

The combination of heat and humidity will make some spots in Maine feel like 100 degrees on Thursday, prompting towns to open cooling centers and remind people to take precautions against the soaring temperatures.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for parts of Maine, including interior York and Cumberland counties, from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday. The advisory extends over a huge geographical region starting in Sanford, slicing 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 under a heat advisory, the weather service said.

The advisory warns that the heat index will be in the mid-to-upper 90s and that the temperatures and humidity could cause heat illnesses.

It could be the hottest day so far this year in some locations, the weather service said. Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 80s and low 90s across most of Maine, and could top 95 degrees in Sanford. High humidity will make it feel even hotter.

“With the amount of humidity, the feels-like temperature will be close to 100 degrees,” said Stephen Baron, a meteorologist from the weather service’s Gray office.


The temperature is expected to reach 91 in Augusta, putting the city in position to potentially break its record high of 94 degrees set in 1988. The record high for Aug. 4 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 Aug. 4 temperature in both cities is 80 degrees, Baron said.

A cold front will be coming through on Thursday night and should lessen the humidity, but the heat will stick around through the weekend. According to the weather service, Portland as of Wednesday had endured 15 consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 80 degrees. That stretch of heat tied a record set in 1988. The record will most likely be broken Thursday.

During a hot stretch like this, Baron said, it’s important that people avoid preventable heat-related deaths by knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.


Signs of heatstroke include a high body temperature, a fast, strong pulse, headache, dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is an emergency and 911 should be called immediately, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; a fast, weak pulse; muscle cramps; nausea or vomiting; tiredness or weakness and dizziness. If you are experiencing heat exhaustion, you should move to a cool place, loosen your clothes, sip water and put cool, wet cloths on your body, the CDC says.


Theo Paulino beats the heat by floating in Casco Bay off East End Beach in Portland on Wednesday. Theo and his family were visiting Maine from Kansas. The temperature there had reached 110 on Wednesday, so Maine was cool by comparison, said Auner Paulino, Theo’s father. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The weather service advises people to wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned spaces, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. When possible, they should reschedule activities to early morning or early evening.

Yarmouth Fire Chief Mike Robitaille said he has been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. Extreme heat poses physical challenges for firefighters, who need to stay hydrated and alert.

Robitaille decided to cancel Thursday’s firefighter training session, a decision he made so that he can keep his firefighters indoors where it is cooler and they can stay hydrated.

“We always look at the weather whether it be extreme heat or cold. We’re very aware of conditions,” Robitaille said.

If Yarmouth is called to a house fire or even a brush fire Thursday, he won’t hesitate to call for mutual aid reinforcements from surrounding towns. With support from neighboring communities, firefighters will be able to take more water breaks.

“I’m always concerned when you have heat like what they are predicting,” Robitaille said.


South Portland Fire Chief Jim Wilson said people who work outside should plan to take extra breaks, stay hydrated and keep an eye on those around them for signs of heatstroke. For those who need a break from the heat, the city has arranged for three cooling centers that will be open during the hottest hours of the day.

“Luckily, we only have this weather once or twice a year,” he said.


South Portland’s cooling centers will be at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the main library branch on Broadway from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at Eastpoint Christian Church on Clarks Pond Parkway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Unfortunately, there are no cooling centers for livestock.

Tim Leary, who operates the Leary Farm in Saco, said he will take precautions to make sure 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 farm stands on Flag Pond Road and Portland Road in Saco. Leary said the heat and dry conditions are worrisome. Field workers have to pick vegetables during the early morning hours when it is cooler, but he is worried about having enough water to irrigate his crops.

“We are doing the best we can, but I am concerned,” Leary said.

Other towns and cities across the state also are opening cooling centers to help residents combat the heat.

The city of Portland says a cooling 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 required. The city also says splash pads are a good place to cool down between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Splash pads are located at Kiwanis Pool, Peppermint Park, Payson Park, Stone Street playground and the Ravine at Deering Oaks.

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 Naples Town Office will serve as a 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 prepared to open a cooling center at Hanson School at 8 a.m. on Thursday and asked residents to notify the fire department if they have concerns or need 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 that run summer camps in schools without air conditioning or limited access to cool spaces.


Staff at the Biddeford Recreation Department spent Wednesday coming up with contingency plans for its Safari and Outdoor Summer Bonanza camps, which serve 150 kids and are based in schools without air conditioning. Director Carl Walsh said he had to find other spaces in different school buildings that are air-conditioned, but it’s hard to accommodate that many kids.

The department would have canceled the program for the day if they could not keep kids cool, but doing that is difficult because it forces parents to scramble to find care for their children, Walsh said.


On many hot days, camp staff are able to set up water activities, swimming at the Rotary Park beach or trips to the movie theater 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 set up for a bunch of real hot days in the facilities we use,” Walsh said. “It is something we may be looking at more closely in upcoming years.”

In Portland, two of three city day camps are held in buildings with air conditioning. Those camps have some outdoor activities planned, including a slip-and-slide and a trip to the Kiwanis Pool, but extra precautions will be taken. There will be numerous water breaks, 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 a movie theater instead.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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