July 19, 2013

Hot spell toasts Maine; relief soon

By Jesse Scardina jscardina@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- With nearly a week of scorching temperatures in the book, there may be some relief coming with the weekend.

But until that cold front comes to Maine, residents have had to resort to a variety of options to cool off.

"We've been pretty busy here," said Allison Scully, a lifeguard at the Alfond Municipal Pool in Waterville. "Some people come in for a quick dip while others spend the day."

Scully said that during the hot stretch, the pool has been averaging around 800 to 900 attendees, compared to 400 to 450 on cooler summer days.

According to the National Weather Service in Gray, Portland reached a record-high 95 degrees on Friday, eclipsing the 94 set in 1982. Michael Cempa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Portland was the hottest spot in the state Friday and that the heat index, which combines heat and humidity levels, hit 103 on Friday afternoon.

Augusta has had at least six days in the mid-80s or higher, with Sunday and Friday maxing out at 91 degrees, accord to the Weather Channel's website. Waterville's high for Friday was 90, while Saturday is expected to peak at 84.

A cold front is expected to cool things down Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Lows Sunday night should drop into the 50s in southern Maine and possibly into the 40s in the northern part of the state.

While the temperatures in the Augusta and Waterville areas didn't fit the definition for a heat wave -- at least three consecutive days of temperatures reaching 90 degrees or higher -- it was hot enough for most.

"We got out of the water, got in the car and got ice cream," said Lee McCallum, who was enjoying ice cream with his family Friday afternoon at Gifford's Ice Cream in Waterville. "This is what we've done: ice cream and stay on the lake."

"We've been extremely busy," Gifford's manager Shanna Friend said. "Usually it picks up around 4, but the last few days it's been from like noon until we close."

However, some find the heat wave to be just right.

"I live in Arizona, so that's heat," said Laurie Campbell, who was treating her nephews Harrison and Thomas Bartley to ice cream. "This weather is beautiful. My brother said after the awful June, he's not complaining as long as it's not raining."

Jesse Scardina -- 861-9239

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