Monday promised to be the first day of relief from a five-day heat heat wave of muggy over-90 degree weather that has sent Bostonians in search of shady spots and air conditioning.
The temperature hit 90 at Boston Logan International Airport at 10:37 a.m. Sunday, officially marking day five of the summer’s second heat wave, and had climbed to 94 degrees by mid-afternoon.
The last time Massachusetts had five consecutive days of over-90 degree weather in July was 1990, according to meteorologist Charles Foley at the National Weather Service in Taunton.
“We don’t expect temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Monday,” he said.
Sunday, he said, should be should be the “last day of the heat wave.”
That was welcome news Sunday for vendors in the midst of the stifling heat on Boston Common whose businesses fluctuate with the weather.
Siobhan McFadden, 21, of Cambridge, who runs the “Slush King” stand at the Common, said said she had been on her feet for hours selling slushies and water bottles as temperatures crept into the mid-90s.
The heat spells are a trying time, she said, but she has to take advantage of the warm days.
“I’ve worked 12 days in a row during the heat because you never know — when the thunderstorms come you can be off work for six or seven days,” she said.
George Ertola, 48, who runs an ice cream stand near Park Street Station, said he sells plenty of ice cream on 75- or 80-degree days, but when it hits 90, he sells mostly water.
“I stay under my umbrella and try not to think” about the heat, he said.
Dganit Cohen of Cambridge and her 5-year-old son Eitan took the muggy weather in stride by going for a dip in the wading pool at Frog Pond Pavilion.
Eitan said that he had drunk four bottles of water at day care on Friday to stay cool, holding up his fingers for emphasis.
“Lots of drinks and water play in this weather,” his mother added. “And at home we turn on the hose and have ice cream.”
Temperatures were expected to drop Monday to the mid- to high 80s, where they are slated to stay throughout the week, with a chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms each afternoon, according to Foley.
But he added that the dew point, which is a measure of moisture in the air, will remain at 70 degrees as it has during the preceding days of the heat wave.
“A dew point of 70 is categorized as oppressive conditions,” Foley said. “There is a very humid air mass over us right now, so even though blazing temperatures are expected to end, we’ll have bad humidity into next week.”
Those who cannot escape the heat easily have developed a variety of tricks to stay cool.
Jack Hatchett, 23, of Somerville, works on the Clover food truck that parks near the starting point of the Freedom Trail. The van has no fans and workers swelter during their turns at the fryers.
“Sometimes I put ice cubes under my hat to try and stay cool,” he said. “I hope this [heat wave] breaks,” he added. “I could use some 75 and breezy.”
Kat Kingsley, 28, a tour guide at King’s Chapel, was sweltering in full Colonial garb Sunday as she prepared for her first afternoon performance as Loyalist sympathizer Baroness Agnes Franklin.
Her costume: a leather bodice over a double-layer, floor-length skirt, complete with a tankard and pistol on her hip.
“The name of the game has just been survival,” she said. “This is the worst heat I’ve seen in six years as a tour guide. I’ve never been in a whole of week of near 100-degree weather in this outfit.”
Kingsley and her fellow tour guides keep fans close at hand and ruffle their floor-length skirts to keep a breeze going.
And when that’s not enough, Kingsley added, they escape into the air-conditioned shops on Tremont Street for some releif.
“The Walgreens down the street keeps their store the temperature of the Arctic Circle, and I’ve practically climbed into their displays to cool off,” she said.