A car passes Serenity Worthley, 11, as she holds a lemonade Wednesday while tending her stand at her family’s house on Halifax Street in Winslow. Serenity is trying to stay cool as temperatures in the area hover around 90 degrees. Serenity, who cares for three cats, says she is donating half of the earnings from her stand to the Humane Society Waterville Area. Serenity, who opened her stand midway through the summer, says she has about $400 to donate. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA — In a hot twist to a cool, wet summer, record heat arrived Tuesday in parts of Maine and is expected to remain through Friday.

The National Weather Service posted a heat advisory from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday in Kennebec, Androscoggin and inland Cumberland and York counties, advising that weather conditions could cause heat illnesses.

Several school districts, many only partially air-conditioned, closed schools early Thursday or planned to on Friday.

The Bonney Eagle school district planned to release middle and high school students at 10:30 a.m., and elementary school students at 11:30 a.m., according to a statement released by Superintendent Clay Gleason.

“Staff and students have been tremendous in their perseverance through three days of extreme heat,” Gleason said. “I will not subject them to a 4th day with temperatures expected to match the past few days and heat indexes that are edging into the danger zone.”

North Berwick Middle school and high school students will be dismissed at 11:15, and elementary students will be dismissed at 12:30, according to the MSAD 60 website.


Gardiner Area High School and Gardiner Regional Middle School were dismissed at 11 a.m. Thursday, with the district’s elementary schools closing at noon.

“While a few of our buildings have pockets of air conditioning, the majority of our classrooms do not, and three days into this weather pattern, we have classrooms in the 90s and buses that are even hotter,” said Patricia Hopkins, superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 11, in an alert posted on the district’s website.

In Winthrop, all public schools closed early for similar reasons on Thursday. Hallowell-based Regional School Unit 2 dismissed students early from all schools and canceled middle school athletics. And the Richmond school district canceled all after-school activities.

Andrea Jones of Waterville holds an umbrella to create shade Thursday as she walks along Cool Street amid temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Augusta’s high Thursday reached 90 degrees, tying the record set in 2007, according to Stephen Baron, a National Weather Service meteorologist at the Gray office. It was the second record-high temperature recorded this week in Maine’s capital city.

In addition to the hot weather, smoke from Canadian wildfires brought unhealthy air to parts of Maine.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued an advisory Wednesday saying the smoke was expected to affect the state Thursday and likely Friday. As of Wednesday, northern Maine was feeling the worst impact, but across central Maine, people who are sensitive to particle pollution are advised to consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.


The high temperature was forecast to be 88 degrees in central Maine on Friday, but meteorologist Michael Clair said the humidity would make it feel hotter than that.

“We have seen (hot weather) before in September, but we are near the upper end of what we have seen before, like (Tuesday), with the record high,” said Clair, who also works out of the National Weather Service office in Gray. “It’s not every year, but it’s not unusual to see the 90s in September.”

For most of the summer, Maine has been in a trough of low pressure, with cooler, wetter weather. Now as that has moved out of the region, it’s been followed by a high pressure ridge bringing hot weather. But, Clair said, since it comes later in the summer season, it is not going to be like the heat the rest of the United States experienced earlier this summer.

A hazy sunset is reflected Wednesday on Maranacook Lake in Readfield. Such conditions in the region are the result of smoke from Canadian wildfires flowing across Maine, according to meteorologists. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Along with the daytime highs, the overnight lows will also be elevated, bringing little relief.

Clair said hot conditions will stick around Friday and begin to moderate Saturday. Next week, temperatures should drop back into the 70s.


Staff writer Dylan Tusinski of the Morning Sentinel contributed to this report. 

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