Some central Mainers sought cool water as temperatures climbed as high as they’ve been all year Monday, but others said they didn’t have any choice but to work in the heat and made the best of it.

Dozens of central Maine residents sought relief at Roy’s Inflatable Water Slide Park Monday afternoon as temperatures hovered in the 90s.

“All the slides are fun because they’re fast and the water is really cold,” said nine-year-old Jackson Hight, of Skowhegan, who celebrated his birthday by tumbling down a more than 30-foot tall inflatable waterfall at the park.

But for those who had to work, there was little escape from the heat.

Kaylee Heath kept her cool Monday at Kennebec Pizza in Hallowell, thanks to a humming rarely used air conditioner and plenty of bottles of water.

“It’s a good workout,” she said of hauling wood upstairs to stoke the wood-fired pizza ovens at the Water Street business, which was comfortable inside mid-afternoon.

Adam St. Onge, who with Josh Grant was landscaping outside the Comfort Inn in Augusta, said taking the day off wasn’t an option. “There’s too much work to do.”

Temperatures in the Augusta and Waterville areas pushed 90 degrees on Monday, some of the hottest weather central Maine has had so far this year, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency also issued a hazardous weather watch for Kennebec County and parts of Franklin, Somerset and Waldo counties because of the hot and humid conditions.

The heat is expected to continue through Tuesday, though no hazardous weather watch had been issued by late Monday.

Temperatures Tuesday will still be slightly above normal, according to meteorologist Andy Pohl, of the National Weather Service.

“It’s just the way the pattern is set up right now,” Pohl said. “It is warmer than normal, but it’s not unprecedented for it to be this warm this time of year.”

The average high temperature in the Augusta and Waterville area over the last 30 years for Aug. 17 is 78 degrees. The average low is 59.

Chris Roy, owner of the Madison water slide park, said that while business has been steady all summer, Monday’s temperatures brought out a slightly larger crowd than usual.

“Everyone seems to like it,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who have nothing to do on a hot summer day, so they come on over. The community has been really supportive.”

“I think they like the water, that’s for sure,” said Keith Burns, of Skowhegan, who was at the park Monday afternoon with his daughters, Alexis and Maci. “Lots of ice cream, water and shade,” Burns said, when asked what his plans were to escape the heat for the rest of the day.

Jennifer Spaulding, of Clinton, and her daughter, 10-year-old Victoria Spaulding, were already eating ice cream in the shade of a nearby umbrella.

“We came because we heard about it, and it seems popular,” said Jennifer Spaulding, 39. “And yes, it is hot, so it’s perfect for us.”

“Sometimes people can’t get to places like Funtown, so it’s really cool to have this nearby,” she said.

At the Hallowell pizzeria, Heath, of Pittston, said restaurant staff anticipated Monday would be hot, so they turned on the air conditioner above the front door the night before to keep it cool inside. And it worked despite the heat from the pizza ovens that burn wood — one at more than 670 degrees.

On days when the air conditioner isn’t running, she said it can get into the 90s in the small kitchen there, which can make working there “brutal.”

She said plenty of water is key on hot days, when she can go through four or five bottles in a shift. She said not working just because it’s hot isn’t an option.

Not working was also not an option for sweat-soaked St. Onge and Grant, both of Windsor.

“It actually wasn’t that bad today,” said St. Onge as the two, who work for Windsor-based Saint’s Ground Maintenance, finished up at the Comfort Inn and loaded their mowers and trimmers onto their trailer.

“This breeze is helping,” he said. “You just have to pace yourself and stay hydrated.”

Grant said it’s important to start work early before the sun and temperature climbs. He said it hasn’t been a bad summer to work outside overall. Still, he said a few minutes working a weed trimmer is all it takes to work up a sweat.

“We haven’t really seen any 100 degree days. It’s been a good summer so far,” Grant said.

As the sun continued to beat down Monday, St. Onge noted it could be worse, especially on the heels of the frigid snow-filled winter.

“It’s better than snow,” he said of the sun.

Safelite AutoGlass employees have some tools to help them beat the heat while replacing windshields outside.

The State Street business’ work van has a “Vanbrella,” a large canopy that can be extended out from the van and over a customer’s vehicle when a windshield is being replaced, according to Michael Neal, manager of the Augusta glass shop.

On hot days workers also wear cool wraps around their necks which are strips of a special cloth soaked in cold water that stay cold for hours.

Neal said the heat has been brutal. Workers also had a fan going in the van, blowing air out onto them as they worked.

By Wednesday temperatures should begin to return to normal with highs in the upper 70s expected on Thursday, the weather service said.

Kennebec Journal reporter Keith Edwards contributed to this report.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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