EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 6, 2013

The heat just keeps hanging on

No relief in sight from heat, high humidity

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — With no air conditioning in his room, Dan Lasko, 22, of Derry has an unusual way of fighting the heat.

“Sometimes you just have to put your head in the freezer for a few seconds,” he said.

Lasko was one of many looking for cooler places yesterday as temperatures rose above 90 degrees for the second consecutive day.

Meteorologists are telling people to get used to the steamy weather.

“It’s going to be pretty similar through the weekend,” said Joe Simpson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton. “It won’t cool down until Monday, when it will dip back into the 80s.”

While Simpson said many focus on the temperature, the heat index is the number meteorologists care about in hot and humid weather.

“That’s how the temperature feels to the body,” he said. “That number could be close to 100 degrees.”

Dan St. Jean, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said not only will it be hot, but there won’t be much rain either.

“There will be isolated thunderstorms, but we don’t expect many,” he said. “The scattered late afternoon thunderstorms we’ve been seeing will likely return next week.”

Today is the third consecutive day for which the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory.

The combination of high temperatures and high humidity result in conditions in which heat illness is possible.

Temperatures today are expected to reach well into the 90s throughout most of the region. Combine that with the high humidity ad you get a heat index value at or just above 100 degrees this afternoon.

The average temperature at this time would be in the low 80s, Ryan Breton of Atkinsonweather.com said, making this spell 10 to 15 degrees above that. It came out of nowhere, Breton.

Some towns and cities opened up buildings for people to get a reprieve from the heat. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

In Plaistow, a cooling station was set up at the library and will be open again today for people to cool off.

“We have air conditioning here,” Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said. “People are encouraged to sit by the computer or grab a book and stay cool.”

Fitzgerald said there would be bottled water available at the library. Cooling hours were scheduled for 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. today.

Haverhill opened up the Citizens Center yesterday on Welcome Street for those seeking relief. It will be open today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Anyone looking for a cool place is encouraged to call the police after those hours,” said Linda Koutoulas, administrative assistant for Mayor James Fiorentini.

Methuen fire officials said heat-related medical calls have been light.

“There has not been an excessive number, nothing major,” Deputy fire Chief Charles Ripley said.

To avoid heat-related issues, Ripley recommended people stay hydrated and avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Stay in the shade, he said, and avoid strenuous physical activity during the hottest part of the day.

Cooling stations had not been set up in town, but Forest Lake, which had been closed for bacterial testing, was deemed safe and reopened to the public Thursday.

Cahla Ahlstrom, program coordinator at the North Andover Senior Center, said she was expecting more people to come in yesterday.

“We really have a limited attendance,” she said. “It could be because of the holiday, but there isn’t a lot of foot traffic here.”

In Derry, people took the opportunity to get out of their houses and relax by the beach near Hood Park.

“We don’t have air conditioning,” said Adam Lee, 29, of Derry. “Just had to make sure we got in some water.”

Robin Gile of Londonderry also had a plan for the hot weather.

“Drink water, put on sunscreen, and lots of popsicles,” she said.

Melinda Mafera, facility supervisor at Hood Park, said there was plenty of traffic at the beach yesterday.

“We have shade and water,” she said. “That’s what people are looking for.”

Douglas Moser and Mike LaBella contributed to this report.