National Weather Service Warns of Dangerously Cold Water Temperatures

In a rare June heat wave in Maine, there's a dangerous juxtaposition: air temperatures so warm there's a risk of heat stroke and water temperatures so cold there's a risk of hypothermia.

"People think because the air temperature is so warm, that it's safe to be out on the water, and that it's safe without adequate protection," said National Weather Service meteorologist John Jensenius. "There's a hidden danger there."

The NWS in Gray has issued a heat advisory for parts of the state – a warning that comes after two or more days with a heat index 95 degrees or higher.

While many may be tempted to jump in the ocean to cool off, the NWS is also warning that water temperatures are dangerously cold. Last weekend, Jensenius said they issued a beach hazard warning: for when beaches are expected to be busy, the air is hot, but water is cold.

"Of course with the cold water this time of year, any day is dangerous to be out on the water," said Jensenius.

Beach hazard warnings are supposed to remind the public to use caution on the water: wearing a life jacket and dressing appropriately for immersion. Some buoys off the coast of Maine are reading ocean temperatures in the low 50s.

"People can be very surprised [when they feel the water], especially if they're not from the area," said Joe Guglielmetti, a guide at Portland Paddle. "It's still cold enough that you would want to consider a wet suit or a dry suit if you're going to be in the water."

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