PORTLAND — The temperature soared to 100 degrees on Friday in Portland for only the fourth time since records have been kept as oppressive heat that gripped the Midwest moved to the nation’s northeasternmost tip, a region where many homeowners don’t even have air conditioners in their homes.

It was the first time the city hit triple digits since 1975, according to the National Weather Service, and the 100-degree reading broke the record for the date of 94 set in 1994 and the all-time high of 99 for the month.

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

The temperature briefly hit 101, but it didn’t stay long enough to account for the official record, she said.

Either way, it was just shy of the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city: 103 degrees on Aug. 2, 1975.

It was so hot that Scarborough Downs canceled harness-racing for the day to ensure the health of the horses. Across the region, people sought refuge in air-conditioned offices, or fanned out in search of beaches and other places to cool down.


James Maxim 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.

As the temperature climbed Friday, a power line failure knocked several power substations out of commission, leaving 13,000 Central Maine Power customers without electricity from Scarborough to Saco.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Funtown/Splashtown USA in Saco. The water and amusement park had to send several thousand guests packing on the hottest day of the summer.

Thankfully, no one was stuck on roller coasters or other rides.

“Horrible timing. Couldn’t be worse,” said Ed Hodgdon, sales and marketing director, noting that guests were given vouchers to return on another day.

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