PROVIDENCE, R.I. — New England sizzled Wednesday with record temperatures as the region experienced an unusual springtime heat wave.
The National Weather Service said the mercury hit 95 degrees at T.F. Green Airport outside Providence, breaking the old record of 91 degrees set May 26, 1965.
A temperature of 98 degrees was recorded at Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford, Conn., breaking the previous record of 94 degrees May 26, 1965. On a Hartford street, Sandy Centeno and Jose Guerrero of New Britain were trying to fix the cooling unit on their seafood delivery truck.
“It’s off the hook hot,” said Centeno, 45. “I’ve had to throw cold water on myself a couple times so I don’t faint.”
In Maine, where the temperature hit 91 in Portland, breaking the old record of 85 set in 1985, at least 300 to 400 sunbathers visited Crescent Beach State Park at a time of year park users typically are bird watching, walking and biking, said park manager John Polackwich.
The park opened Tuesday in anticipation of the heat. Normally, the park doesn’t open until Memorial Day weekend.
“They want to get out of the heat,” said Polackwich, who spent part of the day at the entrance booth.
In Worcester, Mass., the temperature rose to 93 degrees, eclipsing the old record of 90 degrees for May 26, 1932. In Boston, residents and visitors took advantage of the 93 degrees to enjoy the “Rings Fountain” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
“This is the best part of our visit,” said Gautam Mahta, 32, a manufacturing business owner visiting from Calcutta, India, as he watched his 5-year-old son, Aryan, play in the fountain.
Ben Voskeritchian, 26, of Somerville, a musician, and Bianca Pettinicchi, 22, of Boston, a graphic designer, rode their bikes through the fountain to escape the heat.
“We were going to go for a run but it was just too hot,” said Voskeritchian. “I love the heat. It feels great and it put you in a good attitude.”
In northern New England, where withering heat rarely makes an appearance until late August, if at all, people did what they could to cope.
Burlington, Vt. recorded a high of 91 degrees on Tuesday, tying a record for that date set in 1946. In Montpelier, the temperature reached 87 on Wednesday, breaking a 32-year-old record for the date by 2 degrees, according to the weather service.
“Oh, God, it’s been brutal,” said Ann Nelson, 56, of Montpelier. “I’m going to buy a fan and take it to work tomorrow.”
Sipping a glass of sparkling water and ice, Nelson sat on the front porch of her brick home along with 3-year-old3/8granddaughter Adriana Moon and mother-in-law June Nelson, 91, of West Hartford, Conn.
Forecasters say cooler temperatures are expected for the rest of the week.