If yesterday was hot, then today is a scorcher.
As of press time yesterday afternoon, the National Weather Service had recorded temperatures of 94 degrees, just a degree below the all-time high of 95 recorded in 1941. Today was forecasted to reach 99 degrees, sure to break the record of 96, also set in 1941.
Highway traffic headed to South County was stopped yesterday, as people flocked to the beaches on the first official day of summer.
But this year we didn’t have to wait until the official start of the season for summer-like temps. Back in April, we experienced record highs in the 80s, when typically temperatures would still be hanging around the 50s.
The high temps not only send people to the water or into “cooling centers” (statewide locations like libraries and community centers where people can reap the benefits of AC); they also tend to raise concerns about global warming.
Last winter, when snow, ice and sleet covered the ground, global warming was likely the last thing on people’s minds. But this year, when things literally heated up, people’s memories of the global phenomenon were jarred.
But stay cool; the muggy, hot oppression that is summer in Rhode Island shouldn’t be anything to break a sweat over.
Experts are keen to remind people that global warming isn’t always as literal as it sounds. There are other warning signs and climactic occurrences that raise red flags to the trained eye.
So while hot, humid days like this are not a reason to panic, they do serve as a good reminder to stay cool and healthy this summer.
The cooling stations across the state include local spots like the Buttonwoods Community Center and Warwick Public Library.
Librarian Mary Anne Quinn said she saw more people at the library yesterday than she would typically expect on a non-school day. Those with health conditions and the elderly should be particularly quick to utilize these community spaces to stay cool.
So whether you choose to brave the traffic and head to the beach, or if artificial cooling is more your style, make sure you take time out of the heat. Stay hydrated, and if you’re heading out in the sun, slather on sunscreen.
It is the second day of summer after all, so enjoy it safely; it won’t be long before the leaves start changing colors and this summer heat becomes a hazy memory.