NEW BRITAIN - Monday was the hottest day of the year so far, but area towns and cities took the heat in stride.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for 1 to 6 p.m., with the heat index expected to reach 100 degrees.
The high temperature for the day was 94 degrees, 1 degree short of the Hartford record for the date, according to WFSB-TV3.
An air quality alert was also issued for the state until 10 p.m. Thunderstorms with potentially damaging winds along with brief downpours were forecast Monday night, said Channel 3 meteorologist Mark Dixon.
The temperature rose quickly, Dixon said early in the day. “It was 80 degrees as of 10 a.m. and 85 by 11:30 a.m., he said.
“We’ll see a noticeable change in the humidity” after thunderstorms pass through Monday night, Dixon said.
By Tuesday, “it should be much less humid. It will still be hot, in the low 80s, but the dewpoint will be down and it will be more of a dry heat,” said Dixon.
As of 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, the temperature was 89 degrees. With combined effect of the heat and humidity, it felt like 95.
Those who need to get out of the heat can always visit the New Britain Public Library, the New Britain Senior Center or the city’s two splash pads and two pools, city officials said.
The splash pads are in Willow Street Park and Chesley Park. The pools are in Willow Brook Park and A.W. Stanley Park.
Business at the library was brisk throughout the day on Monday, said Executive Director Patricia Rutkowski.
“A lot of people came in first thing Monday morning, got their stuff, and left to settle in at home,” she said. “The magazine room was full, which usually doesn’t happen on a Monday.”
By 2 p.m., the magazine room and the computer room were still full and a steady stream of people was still coming into the library, she said.
“They are sitting with their laptops using the free Wi-Fi and keeping cool,” Rutkowski said.
Berlin officials said they weren’t planning to make any special provisions for the heat.
Percival Pool, on Highland Avenue off Percival Avenue, is open from noon to 6 p.m., daily. Demore, Dinda and Bittner Jr. Memorial Pool on Wilcox Court in East Berlin doesn’t open until Wednesday at 1 p.m.
There is a fee for using Berlin pools. All children 11 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Newington didn’t open any cooling centers either, but residents could visit the Newington Senior and Disabled Center if they didn’t have a way to get cool, an official in the Town Manager’s Office said.
Energy use is expected to go up as people turn on their air conditioners, but Eversource was ready to deal with the heat, said spokesman Mitch Gross.
“Our customers like their air conditioning,” Gross said. “Typically, usage is higher on a day like today.”
Like Dixon, Eversource was keeping a close eye on the sky to see if thunderstorms late in the day would create any problems, Gross said.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.