Soaring temperatures just a prelude

Forecasters say heat wave may break records

One-year-old Luke McDonald of Boston romped with his dog yesterday at the fountain at the North End Park on the Greenway. One-year-old Luke McDonald of Boston romped with his dog yesterday at the fountain at the North End Park on the Greenway. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Megan Woolhouse and Caitlin Castello
Globe Correspondent / June 8, 2008

Yesterday was just a practice run, a first blast of summer. Get ready - today and tomorrow are expected to be even hotter and muggier with temperatures in the 90s across most of the state. Relief will not arrive until Tuesday evening in the form of thunderstorms.

"Monday is going to be the hottest of the whole stretch," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Ekster in Taunton. "We may actually break records."

If temperatures in Boston crack 97 degrees today and Monday, records set in 1984 will be broken. Yesterday, Boston saw a high of 90 degrees. Fitchburg and Bedford recorded the top temperatures in the state at 94 degrees.

Yet for most people in the city, the day felt less hot than comfortable. Ekster said a coastal breeze helped cool the air until 4 p.m., when the wind suddenly shifted off the coast and caused the temperature to shoot above 90 degrees.

If people were too hot, few complained, choosing instead to revel in the heat.

Frog Pond, on the Boston Common, sat unused yesterday afternoon, a pool of murky, brown water, visited only by a family of ducks. (It officially opens on July 1.)

But families flocked to the nearby sprinklers at Tadpole Playground, where dozens of children shrieked and chased one another, playing in the water as parents watched from the shady sidelines.

"The weather is good," said Virginia Conti, a 25-year-old mother of three from Randolph. "You know New England, tomorrow it might not be."

For Monday's hot weather, she anticipated setting up lawn sprinklers and a baby pool, and stocking up on Popsicles.

Yesterday also brought out scores of tourists who lounged on the Common, taking time away from walking tours and sightseeing to lie on the grass.

Stephen Leger, 49, of Annapolis, Md., said he did not miss his bayside hometown.

"Perfect, this is just what we ordered," he said. "We won't beat the heat, but enjoy it."

The heat wave comes to New England via the Gulf of Mexico, where it has swept up through the South and northward. Richmond, Va., broke 100 degrees yesterday.

Business was good for 17-year-old slushie salesman Nick Perry yesterday as he worked a stand on the edge of Boston Common,

"As long as it doesn't rain, there will be a lot of business," said Perry, a Brookline resident. "But there may be a point where it will bet too hot and people won't come out."

The US Environmental Protection Agency predicted poor air quality due to ground-level ozone statewide through tomorrow.

Boston officials opened 10 "cooling centers" across the city yesterday to help people, especially the young and the elderly, cope with the heat.

City officials said they had received no reports of heat-related incidents.

However, officials at the Charlestown center said they saw a lot of children taking advantage of the pools there.

"It's busier than usual," said manager Dodie Johnson, 50. "Kids came at 9 to get in."

The pools open today at noon.

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