National Weather Service graphic

Lynn Mcclelland, right, watches his grandson flip backwards in South Pond at the Greenwood Town Beach in Greenwood on Friday afternoon as he and his friend, Barbara Phelps, stay cool in the shade. The two are from the Greenwood area but their grandson, Jay Penta, is from New Hampshire visiting on vacation.  Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

State officials issued a health warning Friday, urging Mainers to “keep cool, drink fluids and lie low” this weekend when temperatures rise into the 90s across Maine.

And communities across Maine advised residents who need relief from the heat to go to local cooling stations, such as public libraries, community centers and fire stations that will be kept open to the public.

The air temperature is expected to hit 94 degrees in Lewiston on Saturday and to stay in the 90s in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, according to the National Weather Service. In addition to the oppressive heat, thunderstorms could break out Saturday night.

The heat index, a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored with the actual air temperature, will make it feel like it’s 100 degrees in Lewiston by Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency is maintaining a list of cooling centers for this weekend. The list will be continuously updated. As of 2:45 p.m. Friday, it had 23 listed, including:

• Bridgton Community Center, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Georgetown Community Center, if needed.

• Falmouth Family Ice Center, Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

• Freeport Community Library’s community meeting room, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Gray Public Library, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Lisbon Town Office, the police station lobby, 24/7.

• Phippsburg Fire Station, if needed.

• Topsham Public Safety Building, if needed.

• Woolwich Municipal Building, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• North Yarmouth Fire Rescue Station, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Portland Public Library, main library, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

          • Scarborough Public Library, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Wales Fire Department, Saturday through 6 a.m. Monday.

The city of Auburn also released cooling options, including:

• Auburn Public Library, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Norway Saving Bank Arena free public skating Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. and 3:10 to 5:10 p.m. Skate rental is included.

• Norway Savings Bank Arena free roller derby bout hosted by the Androscoggin Fallen Angels Roller Derby, 5 p.m. The derby will be on the solid surface rink 2.

National Weather Service graphic

Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, advised people to stay cool, watch for signs of heat illness and check on friends and family.

“Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable,” Shah said. “With hot weather, we are especially concerned about older Mainers, particularly those who live alone, because they are more likely to have serious health problems. Keeping cool, drinking adequate fluids, and lying low, along with looking after our neighbors, families and friends, will help us all to stay healthy during heat waves this summer.”

Signs of heat-related illness include dry, hot, red skin, a rapid pulse, high temperature, headache, confusion or loss of alertness, rapid breathing, unconsciousness or coma. The CDC advises people who see someone with those signs to immediately call 911 and move the person out of the sun, loosen their clothes and cool them rapidly with ice, fans, cold water or wet cloths.

In Maine, people older than 65 represent the largest proportion of those who are hospitalized for heat-related illnesses. Lack of air conditioning, taking prescription medication, and physical or mental health challenges common among older adults increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, according to the CDC.

Here’s what the CDC says to look for:

  • For heat exhaustion, the victim can feel faint or dizzy, and experience excessive sweating.
  • Skin will be cool, pale and clammy.
  • The pulse will be rapid, but weak.
  • There will also be some muscle cramping.

You’ll need to cool the victim down quickly with air conditioning, offer sips of water and cool, wet washcloths.

PROTECTING ANIMALS

The Maine Animal Welfare Program is also reminding pet and livestock owners to take extra steps to protect animals from exposure to extreme heat.

Owners should keep their pets at home in the shade, air conditioning, or a cool basement. If you have livestock, make sure they have plenty of shade and water.

Tips for pet owners:

  • Never leave an animal in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes. Even with windows open a few inches, the temperature in a parked car may hit 120 Fahrenheit within minutes.
  • When doing errands, leave your dog home.
  • When traveling, stop at places where your pet can get out of the vehicle.
  • Provide fresh, cool drinking water at all times, including in your vehicle when you are traveling.
  • Outdoor kennels must be well-ventilated and shaded, with water in bowls that will not tip.
  • Do not exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights.
  • Clip long coats to about an inch; shorter clips or shaving can leave dogs vulnerable to sunburn.

Tips for livestock owners:

  • Avoid transporting animals in heat over 80 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity.
  • Park vehicles loaded with livestock in the shade.
  • Deliver animals at night or in the early morning.
  • Provide well-ventilated air space in farm trucks, barns, or any enclosure.
  • Provide fresh drinking water at all times, and provide shade in resting, eating, and watering areas.
  • Use a water sprinkling system to cool animals.
  • Heatstroke is a threat for both pets and livestock and can be fatal even with prompt treatment.

Signs of heatstroke in small animals include excessive panting, staring or stupor, breathing difficulty, an anxious expression, refusal to obey, warm dry skin, fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and collapse.

In large animals, signs of heat stress and stroke may include restlessness, stumbling, increased heart rate, and salivation, panting, collapse, and convulsions.

If you see any of these signs, immediately call your veterinarian.

Sun Journal Staff Writer Lindsay Tice and WGME contributed to this report.

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