The temperature is forecast to reach only 80 degrees today.

On Tuesday, that was as good as the weather news got.

As Western Maine languished in a sticky streak not long enough to be a heat wave but plenty warm enough to be uncomfortable, people flocked to cool libraries and companies reminded workers to take it easy out there.

“This is our week we have in Maine every year of miserable, hot weather,” said Megan Bates, deputy director of Lewiston Public Works. “Go out and act like bulls? That’s not going to work.”

Meteorologist Stacie Hanes at the National Weather Service in Gray said Southern New Hampshire faced a heat advisory Tuesday afternoon but Maine wasn’t quite toasty enough for one. Temperatures reached 95 in Portland, one degree over that day’s record high, with relative humidity of 55 percent.

“We have high pressure in the air … it just causes the moisture to just stay in place. There’s no cold front to push it through,” Hanes said. “It’s a little unusual, definitely, the combination of the heat and humidity.”

Thursday is expected to reach 81 and, by Saturday, she said, expect relief from a cold front and the prospect of the upper 70s.

At Lewiston Public Library, Director Rick Speer estimated that foot traffic would be up 25 to 30 percent over a normal week with people taking refuge in the cool stacks.

“We get people kind of browsing and just killing time,” he said. “We had 20 people at the front door waiting to come in at 10 a.m.”

The library had its traditional programming slated for the week, with story time, reading and cooking programs. “For the energetic folks, we have a contradance planned Friday for 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. — our air conditioner will be working,” Speer said.

Lynn Lockwood, director of the Auburn Public Library, said it’s always a little busier the day after a holiday. “Between that and the heat, we’re very busy today,” she said.

She had the library’s anime club planned for 3 p.m. Wednesday and the kids’ movie “Finding Nemo” planned for 1 p.m. Thursday, “a nice underwater movie for a hot day.”

The Auburn library was dealing with some broken air conditioners, she said, but most of the building was staying cool.

Peggy McRae, director of the emergency room and critical care at Central Maine Medical Center, said she’d sent an alert to staff in early July, with the holiday and the heat coming up, as a reminder of the symptoms of dehydration and heat stroke.

The ER saw a few cases of dehydration over the weekend, she said, and had taken its own precautions, like having enough IV fluids in stock.

“We’ll just have to keep on the alert,” she said.

Bates said it worked out well that this is a popular vacation week for a lot of her crew. Those on the job got reminders about wearing hats, using sunscreen and keeping water jugs close.

“The guys know they need to keep hydrated; they break when they need to break,” she said.

Bob Belz, director of Auburn Public Works, had workers out laying 350-degree hot patch on the street. It makes no difference to the hot patch whether it’s 70 or 90 degrees, he said.

His crew had also been reminded about sunscreen and insect repellent, and to “pay attention to how you feel,” he said.

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• Check in on people 65 and over at least twice a day to see how they’re doing.

• Air conditioning and cold baths are better than fans when temps hit the high 90s.

• Don’t leave kids or pets in parked cars.

• Heat exhaustion can develop over days of not getting enough fluids. Be aware of symptoms like muscle cramps, weakness, paleness and nausea.

• Heat stroke can occur more quickly. Be aware of symptoms like a body temperature above 103 degrees, hot, dry skin and confusion.

• Drink plenty of water and remember to leave plenty of water outdoors, in the shade, for pets.

For more information: Emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp


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