Thursday June 21, 2012

As temperatures soared into the 90s, the heat on Wednesday had hundreds of people cooling off at local beaches, water parks and backyard pools.

In Great Barrington, the high of 93 degrees at 2:05 p.m. eclipsed the record 92 degree reading on June 20, 1995, according to veteran weather observer Nick Diller. Diller has been tracking the high/low temperatures in Great Barrington for nearly 50 years.

Pittsfield fell one degree short -- 90 at 2:55 p.m. -- of equaling the record high of 91 set at the city's airport in 1931 and tied in 1953.

Janessa Jamross, 6, plunges into the water at the end of one of the water slides at Bousquet as her friend Mya Desautels, 8, follows behind.
Janessa Jamross, 6, plunges into the water at the end of one of the water slides at Bousquet as her friend Mya Desautels, 8, follows behind. (Caroline Bonnivier Snyder / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

Factor in the humidity and forecasters at the National Weather Service said the feel-like temperatures were approaching 100 degrees in some parts of the region. Weather Service meteorologists in Albany, N.Y. expect more of the same today, with a break in the heat on Friday when temperatures are expected to drop to a more seasonable 80-to-85 degree range.

Until Mother Nature cools off the Berkshires, many area residents and visitors today will likely take another refreshing dip in local lakes, swimming pools or water slides.

On Wednesday, Lee's municipal swimming area, Sandy Beach at Laurel Lake, was packed almost the entire day, according to lifeguard Ben Kline.

"We were at most about 150 people," Kline said. "Everyone was having a good time."

Pittsfield parks officials report Pontoosuc and Onota lakes were busy with both swimmers and boaters. They noted it's a swim-at-your-own-risk situation at both city beaches until the lifeguards officially go on duty July 4.

Those who fancy water parks found the water slide and wading pool at Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield a haven from the heat, according to Sherry Roberts, general manager of the summer and winter recreational business.

"There were people here at 10 a.m. when we opened up," Roberts said. "We also had a little bit of a breeze, which was helpful and sold a lot of ice cream and Slush Puppies."

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.