AUGUSTA — This week’s extreme heat, arriving days before the official start of summer, has sent people scrambling to find relief from the unseasonably oppressive conditions.

Across central Maine, people are hauling out fans and air conditioners, seeking excuses to spend time in air conditioned spaces or hitting local pools and swimming holes even as the National Weather Service issues excessive heat warnings.

Victor Mellows and Kyleigh Taylor headed out for a swim at Augusta’s Bicentennial Park on Wednesday, the federal Juneteenth holiday, a day before the heat wave was predicted to bring its hottest temperatures yet and challenge records.

They joined scores and scores of people across Maine who headed for local pools or braved the still bracing waters of lakes and ponds to cool off.

Local to the area, they strolled to the lake at Augusta’s park to cool off, as they would usually opt to stay in an air-conditioned room playing video games, but their trip to the park inspired them to come back. 

Taking a dip is one option for seeking relief. Grilling out is another option.


“I’m a cookout person. I like my fires, man,” Taylor said. “My family used to make burgers and smash burgers with eggs on the grill and put bacon on top. It’s so good.” 

And before they both headed off to late-night work shifts, they were considering doing just that.

Joyce Carpenter of Benton splashes with her grandson, Grayson Carpenter, 5, as they attempt to beat the heat Tuesday at the swimming hole in Vassalboro as temperatures reached into the 90s. The swimming hole is next to the dam at Mill Stream. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

While the days have been hot, it may not be hot enough to break the record highs for the hottest days this week.

Greg Cornwell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Gray, said the record high temperature in Augusta on June 19 stands at 98 degrees, set in 1995. The record high for June 20, which this year marks the start of summer, was set in 1953 at 95 degrees.

Temperatures recorded late afternoon in Augusta reached 95 degrees on Wednesday, which was 2 degrees higher than forecasted but shy of the record of 98.

“(Thursday) might be a little more attainable (for breaking the record) because we are slowly building heat all week,” Cornwell said.


But with this hot weather also came the chance of thunderstorms, he said, which could bring some immediate relief. On Thursday, there’s a greater chance of thunderstorms with the possibility of hail and damaging winds up through the Kennebec Valley.

Annalee Theobald, 11, of Winslow, cools off during a water break Wednesday at the Fletcher Soccer Academy held at Thomas College in Waterville. Her friend, Anabelle Thompson, 12, of Albion, smiles while watching as temperatures climbed into the 90s. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“This is pretty anomalous heat we’re having this week,” he said.

For those who can’t or don’t want to take a dip, a number of cooling centers have opened their doors to offer relief.

Augusta opened its cooling center at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday and it is expected to remain open through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Gardiner, the Gardiner Public Library opened up Wednesday during the day and will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday. It’s located at 152 Water St.

The Richmond Senior Center is hosting a cooling station from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at 314 Front St.


Waterville’s cooling center at 46 Front St. opened Wednesday and will be open again from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

As the excessive heat continues for one more day, people may be heading out to beaches again.

The Peaslee siblings, Makayla, 14, from left, Shane, 6, and Natalie, 12, jump off the dock at Bicentennial Park in Augusta on Wednesday as temperatures reached into the 90s. Thursday’s temperatures are also expected to hover in the 90s.  Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Like Bicentennial Park in Augusta, many communities restrict use of their beaches to their own residents. Beaches at state parks don’t limit who can use them but do charge a fee for entry.

Cornwell said more seasonable weather is expected to return Friday and through the weekend. The next chance for a shot of high heat could come toward the middle of next week, he said.

Morning Sentinel photographer Anna Chadwick contributed to this report.

Related Headlines

Join the Conversation

Please sign into your account to participate in conversations below. If you do not have an account, you can register or subscribe. Questions? Please see our FAQs.