Hot muggy weather is expected to approach or even top 100 blistering degrees today in Maine and the rest of New England.

The National Weather Service predicted that the combination of high temperatures and thick humidity will make it feel even hotter than the thermometer reads.

In Auburn, McGruff the Crime Dog was trying to taking a bite out of the heat Tuesday night by strolling around National Night Out activities sporting shorts under his trench coat.

Three construction workers building a skateboard park in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park tried to keep cool by drinking about a gallon of water apiece – in addition to assorted sport drinks and iced coffees.

“It’s hard to watch those kids having fun in the (neighboring) pool all day,” said a shirtless Shawn Gilheeney, of Providence, R.I., after he stopped shoveling from atop a pile of dirt.

“There’s not a lick of shade in this entire spot.”

He suggested the crew start well before dawn today, to minimize the amount time they spend working in the sun during their 12-hour days.

Aquaboggin Water Park in Saco was preparing for big crowds and the heat today.

The park bought several cases of bottled water to hand out just in case people in long lines needed relief, said resort general manager Sally Christner.

Extra staff was being called in so they could give other employees time to take breaks and go in the water to cool off so they could remain alert during the day.

“We’re gearing up for it,” Christner said. “Nobody else is excited about the heat, but we are. This is a great place to be when it’s hot.”

Temperatures are expected to hit the 90s, with high humidity levels and a heat index above 100 degrees in places.

“It’s not going to be nice out,” said Butch Roberts of the National Weather Service. “Anybody that exerts themselves is going to feel it.”

With the heat on, chocolate ice cream sales will drop, says one shop owner.

When temperatures rise, people prefer lighter ice cream flavors like berry or ginger, said Rick Fulwider, owner of Rick’s Gourmet Ice Cream in Keene, N.H.

Kristin Tidd, manager of Kimball Farms in Jaffrey, N.H., said some might decide to stay home and cool off.

“If it gets too hot, business goes down,” Tidd told The Keene Sentinel. In oppressive heat, ice cream melts too fast to be savored, she added.

If ice cream shops controlled the weather, it’d be 84 to 89 degrees, Tidd said.

After a cloudy morning, Tuesday turned steamy and sultry in parts of northern New England, with temperatures reaching into the 90s in many places. With dew points in the 70s, the heat index – or what it really felt like outside – reached closer to 100 degrees in spots.

It reached 95 in Manchester, N.H., tying the record for the date, set in 1933.

Wednesday was supposed to get even hotter, with some areas in the southern part of the New Hampshire approaching 100 degrees. Heat indexes will make it feel hotter still.

Some people who ventured out Tuesday left home early and headed for their boats, said John Welch, the office manager at Jakes’ Mallets Bay Marina on Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vt.

“Today my parking lot is half full,” he said at midday Tuesday, unusual for a weekday. “Usually when I leave here the parking lot is pretty close to full. People come down when they get out of work.”

And Welch said he has been getting more and more calls about people looking to beat the heat by renting personal watercraft. The tough part is his marina doesn’t rent them.

Inside La Panciata bakery in Northfield, Vt., the temperature hit 100 degrees by midday.

“It’s hot,” said owner Glenn Loati. “We’re not in an air-conditioned space, so when we get weather like this it definitely gets hot.”

He expected the space to heat up by the end of the day when the Italian breads would be baking at high heat.

Fans around the room offered the dozen or so employees some relief.

At Vermont’s prisons, inmates and staff were being encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and to be careful in the sun, said Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann.

Medical staff was told to watch people who take certain medications, such as medicines used to control mental illness, because the drugs can make them more susceptible to problems from the heat. And the department is buying extra ice for beverages and cold compresses.

The operator of the region’s power grid, ISO-New England, was forecasting a possible record demand for electricity on Wednesday, but expected the supply of energy would be enough to meet that demand without taking any emergency measures.

Consumers can help by taking measures of their own to use less electricity.

“Crank that air conditioning thermostat up just a degree or two; it won’t make that much difference to you, you’ll still be cool,” said Martin Murray, a spokesman for Public Service Company of New Hampshire. “But your air conditioner will not have to work as hard as it otherwise might.”

PSNH also advised cutting down on energy consumption during the peak usage hours from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Some New Hampshire towns opened “cooling stations” so people could get relief from the heat. In Pelham, the senior center, town hall, public library and Chunky’s Cinema were opened. In Manchester, people could go to the William B. Cashin Senior Activity Center until 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cooler weather is in store for Thursday and Friday, the weather service said.

Sun Journal staff writer Christopher Williams contributed to this report.


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