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September 01, 2020 10:27am
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Sweltering heatwave invades New England, forcing school closures and early dismissals

Widespread heat has enveloped a significant portion of the country, infiltrating New England and prompting certain schools to either shut down or release students early on Friday.

The heat that has gripped much of the nation has seeped into New England, forcing some schools to close or send kids home early on Friday, while the mayor of Boston declared a heat emergency with cooling centers opened around the city.

In Lowell, Massachusetts, where none of the 28 schools have air conditioning, all classes remained closed on Friday "out of concern for the health and safety of staff and students," as the temperature was expected to reach a high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity making it feel like 95 F.

Other schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire were also closed or sent students home early — and curtailed after-school activities.

Electric fans were delivered to schools to help keep teachers and students comfortable as temperatures approached 90 F on Thursday in parts of New England. Most of the public schools in Boston have access to air conditioning, but the city would supply water and fans to the schools that need them, Mayor Michelle Wu said when she declared a heat emergency for Thursday and Friday.


Hot temperatures earlier in the week caused disruptions at schools from Michigan to Virginia, with some districts dismissing students early and others holding classes online. In the second week of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, the heat and humidity is pushing players to the limit. The Grand Slam tournament adopted a new policy on Tuesday to partially shut the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof in extreme conditions to offer some extra shade.

In Texas during another stretch of sizzling summer heat, the power grid manager on Thursday asked residents to cut their electricity use, a day after the system was pushed to the brink of outages for the first time since a deadly winter blackout in 2021.

In New England, Augusta, Maine, set a record of 90 F on Thursday and Concord, New Hampshire, reached 93 F, said Sarah Thunberg, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Maine.

Temperatures were expected to be hot again on Friday, but a bit cooler than the day before.

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