Temperatures rose to the mid-90s throughout Central and Western Maine on Saturday and Sunday, sending thousands of people scurrying to beaches or the nearest spot of shade.

However, the oppressive heat that swept across the state over the weekend did not quite rise to the level of “heat wave,” according to meteorologist Eric Schwibs at the National Weather Service in Gray,

Schwibs said a heat wave requires three consecutive days of 90 degrees or warmer.

“It happened in southern New Hampshire,” Schwibs said, “but it didn’t quite hit that level around here.”

While the heat Saturday and Sunday did not set records, Schwibs said it was “absolutely above normal.”

“Normally, around this time of year, a normal high is 80 degrees,” Schwibs said. “We were 10 to 15 degrees above that this weekend.”

The National Weather Service in Gray posted on its Facebook page that on Saturday, the heat index, a measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored with the actual air temperature, reached 100 degrees in Lewiston.

By 3 p.m. Sunday, Lewiston’s heat index was at about 96 degrees.

The heat was a boon for Range Pond State Park, according to manager Adam McKay, as more than 3,000 people visited Saturday, making it the park’s second-busiest day of the season, behind the Fourth of July.

“We had a line coming into the park in both directions that was three-hours long,” McKay said. “There was a ton of traffic, and by the end of the day we had 3,000 people at the park.”

He said Sunday had a big wave of people visiting Range Pond early in the day, and that it was likely to become “another 2,000-person day.”

McKay said he heard state parks on the ocean, such as Popham Beach and Reed State Park, reached capacity before noon and had to close their gates.

On its website, the Maine Emergency Management Agency posted a list of cooling centers throughout the state, including four in Androscoggin County.

Josh Tiffany, director of the Gray Public Library, said the library normally closes at 3 p.m. on Saturday, but stayed open until 6 p.m. to allow people to escape the heat.

“We had about a dozen people come in between 3 and 6 p.m.,” he said, “and of those people, half of them said they were looking for a place to hang out and avoid the heat.”

A 24-hour cooling station was set up at the Lisbon Police Department, but according to an employee at the Police Department, nobody had used it as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

An employee with Maine Medical Center in Portland said nobody had been hospitalized Saturday or Sunday with symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

A nursing supervisor with Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston declined to say if anybody had been brought to the hospital with heat-related symptoms Saturday or Sunday.

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Mlik Mohamud, of Lewiston, walks across the water fountain at Festival Plaza in Auburn Sunday afternoon while trying to stay cool with his siblings and father. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


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