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Granite Staters just seeking some relief from the heat

MANCHESTER — Thermometers weren't the only tell-tale sign that temperatures reached into the 90s for the second day in a row.

The line of about 50 people waiting to get into the city pool at Livingston Park on Tuesday was also pretty good indicator just how hot it was and what some were willing to do while seeking comfort.

"On the hot days like today, sometimes there will be more people than the capacity of the pool waiting to get in," said Peter Capano, chief of Manchester's Parks and Recreation department.

Maximum capacity at the pool is 325 people.

Not too long ago New Hampshire residents were slogging through a cool, rainy start to summer.

Nobody's complaining about the cool temperatures these days. The Granite State is in the midst of a heat wave that forecasters expect to run through the rest of the week.

The high Tuesday at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport was 94 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologist Mike Kistner of the NWS office in Gray, Maine, said it wasn't record-breaking heat, but temperatures throughout the Granite State have been running 10-to-12 degrees above normal.

While the North Country could see a little relief from rain today, Kistner said temperatures in southern New Hampshire are likely to keep reaching the low-to-mid 90s until the weekend.

Public health officials have been sending out advisories about the heat and offering tips on how to stay safe until it cools off. Communities have arranged public "cooling centers," where people who don't have air conditioning can escape the conditions outside.

One was at the Bedford Public Library, which will be open as a cooling shelter from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

"It's centrally located and it has air-conditioning, which is a big factor," Bedford Fire Chief Scott Wiggin said. "From Monday to Friday they're open late and they have the resources available for people to keep themselves occupied."

For some people, there was no escaping the heat — just enduring it.

Mike Kenney of the city Highway Department covered his head with a white T-shirt, which he periodically doused with cool water in between hauling wheelbarrows of hot asphalt during a paving project along Ash Street. He said the asphalt itself is about 375 to 400 degrees and combining that with the extreme temperatures makes for long days.

"With the rain for a while there, that was tough. That holds up our operation. When it's clear like this, no matter how hot, we've got to be out here getting it done," Kenney said. "Drink lots of water. Keep the head covered up. Try and hit some shade when you can. That's about the best you can do out here."

Just a block to the north, Jon Morris of Grasshoppers Landscaping in Goffstown was checking on a small garden wall one of his crews was building outside a home at the corner of Ash and Orange streets.

Morris said heat waves are a part of the industry and his workers know how to avoid overdoing it and are familiar with the risks of heatstroke.

"I run 13 guys out here. We're really conscientious about making sure they're hydrated," Morris said. "Make sure they work in a buddy system. Nobody works alone and everybody's kind of keeping an eye on each other. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can't stress it enough with our guys."

dalden@unionleader.com


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