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Break on the way after one of longest heat waves on record

Union Leader Correspondents

July 05. 2018 9:17PM
The whale watch boat leaving from Rye Harbor was packed Thursday as people went out to check out New Hampshire's marine wildlife and try and escape the heat (Kimberley Haas)

JASON SCHREIBER The recent heat wave made the demand for electricity soar as people ran air conditioners and fans nonstop. Utility officials reported some minor outages across the state, but said power was quickly restored.

That’s a wrap.

After seven days of steamy 90-plus degree weather, New Hampshire will get a break from the searing heat beginning Friday.

With Concord’s high of 95 on Thursday, forecasters said the latest stretch of hot and humid weather is one of the longest on record here.

According to the National Weather Service, the worst heat wave since record-keeping began in 1868 was in August 2002, when New Hampshire experienced 90-degree heat for nine days straight. The state saw eight-day heat waves in 1912, 1944 and 1970.

“It’s been significant. We’ve had this Bermuda-type high over the Atlantic pushing warm air on top of us,” said Tom Hawley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

The high is expected to slide a bit to the east and will allow for temperatures to drop back into the 80s for the next several days.

“It doesn’t look like a return of the searing heat, at least through next week,” Hawley said.

Relief from the heat will come as welcome news to residents who have been running their air conditioners non-stop for days and the utility companies that have been trying to keep up with the high demand.

Eversource spokesman Kaitlyn Woods said that overall the company’s electric system performed well, but there were some outages.

“A heat wave like the one we experienced this week does put a strain on our system as the demand for electricity increases to power air conditioning systems and other appliances that help keep people comfortable. The demand is often exacerbated in areas where our customers have added equipment to their property, such as pools, air conditioners and electronic devices,” Woods said.

Unitil spokesman Carol Valianti said the company had two transformers overload due to the heat, which caused minimal disruption.

“We’ve been sharing tips with customers and the public about how to conserve energy while still staying cool and hopefully that’s been helping. We are all looking forward to things cooling down this weekend, especially the linemen responding to outage calls in this heat,” she said.

Sales of air conditioners, fans and plastic kiddie pools have been brisk at Ace Ben Franklin in Raymond. Angie Foster, the store’s assistant manager, said it’s been busier than normal, but they’ve been able to keep the shelves stocked.

“So far so good,” she said.

Ed Warren, who owns NAPA Auto Parts stores in Derry and Epping, said he’s seen many customers coming in to buy cans of freon for air conditioners. He said people should have their vehicle’s air conditioning checked before the summer season begins and automotive shops get booked up.

“Unfortunately a lot of people don’t do that,” he said.

In Rye, tours for Granite State Whale Watch were packed as people tried to beat the heat and get a glimpse of the marine wildlife in New Hampshire.

Six-year-old Arhaan Mehdi and his father, Syed, reported seeing a whale and seals but no reprieve from the scorching temperatures.

“It was kind of hot out there,” Syed Mehdi, of Chicago, Ill., said.

Michael Brown, 6, of Greenland, and his father, Mike, were practicing bodysurfing in the waves.

“We come here a couple of times a year,” Mike Brown said.

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