Worcester grills in the heat and humidity of summer with temperatures close to 90

WORCESTER – Is it hot enough for you?

It was a steamy Wednesday morning as roofer Otonel Aguilar installed shingles over Iglesia Adventista Central Church in South Key.

Aguilar made sure to take plenty of water breaks. He also wore a hat and a bandanna around his neck to avoid baking in the scorching sun on a day when the high 90s was expected. Add to that the heat index – better known as the “feel” temperature, which is a combination of air temperature and humidity. Relativism – and those who had to stay out experienced the mid-90s commute feeling.

Late summer heat covers Worcester and most of Massachusetts, where a heat warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday. As of Wednesday afternoon, warnings have excluded areas along the coast, Cape and Islands, Berkshire and parts of Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties.

Record lows could fall for Worcester on Wednesday and Thursday. The all-time high for September 6 was 90 which was set in 1901, while the all-time high for September 7 was also 90, which was set in 1945.

Air quality during the recent heat wave is a potential problem for those with respiratory issues including asthma. As of Wednesday afternoon, air quality in Worcester was “moderate” at Summer Street in the city center and “good” at higher elevations at Worcester Regional Airport.

Cooling Centers Worcester

Meanwhile, the city council planned to open three cooling centers on Thursday and Friday for residents who need relief from the heat.

Locations and hours of operation include:

● Worcester Public Library Main Branch, 3 Salem Square, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m

● Francis Perkins Library Branch, 470 West Boylston Street, Thursday: noon to 8:30 p.m.; Friday: 10 am to 6:30 pm

● Worcester Senior Center, 128 Providence Street, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A city spokesperson said those locations did not open as cooling centers on Wednesday because the heat index in Worcester is not expected to reach 95 degrees or higher. As of Wednesday afternoon, National Weather Service maps showed Worcester falling in the heat advisory region.

What triggers a heat warning?

Meteorologist Alan Dunham of the National Weather Service in Norton explained that heat index values ​​of 95 degrees and above trigger a heat warning by the National Weather Service. Marine high pressure explains this recent extension of high heat.

“We get a lot of heat and humidity that the central part of the country has experienced for most of the summer. It’s overhead now,” Dunham said.

It may not be our top priority because we are living through this temporary period of extreme heat, but it should be noted that Worcester and New England did not experience the extreme heat that hit most of the United States this spring and summer. In fact, Worcester has yet to experience an official heat wave this year, which is defined as three consecutive days of 90 degrees or higher.

Thursday may feel hotter than Wednesday

Meanwhile, Thursday could be more troublesome than Wednesday because the high temperature is expected to reach the mid 90’s. Friday’s forecast is for highs in the upper 80s, but Dunham said it would feel lower in the 90s when the heat index is taken into account.

Clark University student Simon Pinchbeck had a plan to beat the heat. It started with carrying a large iced coffee, which Pinchbeck was seen doing Wednesday morning on his way to classes. Gulps from that large plastic cup provide relief to his dry throat, and Pinchbeck said he’ll spend the next few days in the Clark Library. It has air conditioning, while his apartment does not.

“I live upstairs and it’s very hot. I can feel the heat rising as I walk up the floors of my building,” Pinchbeck said. “I can’t wait for winter.”

Victor Ortiz was seen pushing a cart full of bulk bottles and cans along Main Street in South Maine on his way to deposit cash. Wearing a mask to protect against the barbecue elements, 71-year-old Ortiz said he sometimes feels dizzy because of the heat.

“I drink a lot of water,” he said, using the word “unbelievable” to describe the 90-degree heat on Wednesday. “I grew up in Puerto Rico, and it’s hotter here in Worcester.”

What’s in store for Worcester?

There’s a relative lull on the way, with Saturday temperatures expected to reach the mid-80s, with rain and thunderstorms possible.

It may be repeated on Sunday and temperatures may drop further into the mid to high 70s on Monday and Tuesday. Monday could bring a few showers.

The Telegram & Gazette is investigating the effects of a rapidly warming planet on the people who live in our city. Follow up with “City on Fire,” where we report on grappling with summer temperatures, even in New England. This is part of a risky course for the USA TODAY project. Contact reporter Henry Schwan for inclusion in the story if affected by heat: cost or lack of air conditioning, health risks, lack of access to green space, concern about pets and animals in summer conditions, concern about an elderly loved one, etc.

Contact Henry Schwan at henry.schwan@telegram.com. Follow him on Twitter: @henrytelegram.

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