Well, what do you know? All those complaints about the heat are perfectly valid. Health experts say dangerously hot weather and high humidity could cause problems over the next few days.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people to brace for unusual heat and humidity as the week winds down. But will this be a bona fide heat wave?
"It certainly looks like a heat wave from here," said Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.
The accepted definition is three days or more of heat that tops 90 degrees. By Saturday, we should be there.
On Thursday, temperatures in Lewiston should climb to the low to mid-90s, Curtis said. That alone wouldn't be so bad. Factor in the humidity and behold, a heat index of perhaps 98 degrees.
"You put the two together," Curtis said, "and it feels much hotter."
Even the nights won't be exceptionally cool, according to the National Weather Service. In Lewiston, for instance, it was still 84 degrees at suppertime on Wednesday. Just reading the forecast could produce sweating.
"High pressure centered offshore will circulate hot and increasingly humid air into the region through Saturday," went the National Weather Service report. "A weak frontal boundary will sag across the area late Thursday, accompanied by scattered strong thunderstorms that may provide a brief break from the high humidity on Friday."
In layman's terms? "Hot and sticky," Curtis said. "A good day to be at the lake or something like that."
If this were Arizona, few problems would be expected. But according to the Maine CDC, Mainers are particularly vulnerable in the heat because most of us are not physically acclimated to truly torrid weather.
Over the past 10 years, Maine CDC studies have found that rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits rise significantly when the air gets hot. And they are not talking about simple discomfort and irritability. Each year, more people die from heat than from all other weather events combined. In addition to illnesses like heat stroke, serious health conditions such as heart, respiratory and kidney disease can be aggravated by hot weather.
It's not only the disease-control people warning about the heat and humidity. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday issued an air-quality health advisory for parts of Maine that included Lewiston, Auburn, Augusta and Portland.
Around the Twin Cities on Wednesday, evidence of hot weather could be seen in what wasn't there, rather than what was. There were fewer people out riding bicycles or walking dogs. Almost no one was driving with their windows open. In downtown Lewiston, the people who normally congregate on front steps opted instead to stay inside in front of fans and air conditioners.
And that was before the really hot weather arrived.
Tips for beating the heat from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
Keep cool: Stay inside and out of the sun. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Spend time in air-conditioned spaces: a public library, store, restaurant, movie theater or cooling center if your home is not air-conditioned. Use cold water to cool down; take a cold shower or bath.
Drink fluids: Drink more fluids than you normally would, regardless of your activity level. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks, as these can be dehydrating.
Lie low: Take breaks from physical activity at least every hour. Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
Limit activity and protect yourself if you must be outside: Reduce your activity level. If possible, limit your activity to morning and evening hours. If you work outdoors or in a hot place, drink one cup of cool, non-alcoholic fluids every 20 minutes. Take frequent rest breaks in shady or air-conditioned places.
Look out for others who may be vulnerable: Elderly people, those who live alone, infants and young children, people who work outside and those with existing health conditions or mental illnesses are most at risk. Check a few times a day on neighbors, friends and family who may be more susceptible to the heat.
The Maine CDC heat page: maine.gov/dhhs/boh/heat/index.shtml
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has established a hotline so Maine residents can stay informed on air-quality situations. The toll-free number is 1-800-223-1196.