The temperature soared Friday to 100 degrees in Portland — breaking the record for the month of July and coming just shy of the all-time hottest temperature in the state’s most populous city.

The National Weather Service says the 100-degree reading Friday afternoon broke the record for the date of 94 set in 1994 and the all-time high of 99 for the month of July. The temperature briefly hit 101, but it didn’t stay long enough to account for the official record.

“It’s pretty darned hot,” said Margaret Curtis, a weather service meteorologist based in Gray.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in the city was 103 degrees on Aug. 2, 1975.

Locally, unofficial readings from Kennebec Journal Weather Spotters show Friday’s heat reached 94 in Pittston, 95 in Augusta and 97 in Mount Vernon.

Temperatures overnight Thursday didn’t provide much relief, either, with lows a steamy 74 in Pittston and 75 in Augusta.

Horse tracks across the state canceled harness-racing Friday.

Races were canceled at Scarborough Downs. And The Top Dog Championship, Paul Bunyan Invitational and Arnie Van Dyne Memorial events set to take place today at Bangor Raceway were also canceled.

“We want to keep all of our athletes, drivers and horses included, safe on days like this,” Corey Smith, director of raceway operations at Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway, said in a news release. “Tracks up and down the East Coast have cancelled races.

In Saco, several thousand customers were sent packing because of a power outage in southern Maine that knocked the rides and water park out of commission at Funtown/Splashtown USA.

In Augusta, Viles Arboretum cancelled a blueberry festival scheduled for today.

“In part, it’s because we have a lot of older volunteers who help us out, and didn’t see fit to put them risk,” Viles Arboretum Executive Director Mark Desmeules said. “This is some pretty outstanding heat we’re experiencing.”

James Maxim would certainly agree. He didn’t expect the scorching heat as he and family members spent the week in Limington. By Friday, he’d had enough, fleeing the smoldering vacation home and hopping into the Saco River, where he found some relief even though the water was freakishly warm.

“There’s only so many cold beverages you can drink before you have to jump into something,” said Maxim, 33, of Lunenburg, Mass., after sitting recliner-style on smooth rocks as the water washed over him.

It was hot across the region. It also hit triple digits in Manchester, Concord and Portsmouth in New Hampshire.

The temperature was expected to hit the 90s again on Saturday in Portland, which would meet the National Weather Service’s definition of an official heat wave. Things will cool down on Sunday after a cold front moves through, bringing the high down to 78 or 80.

Information from the Associated Press, Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Michael Shepherd and Kennebec Journal Weather Spotters was included in this report.

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