It's one day into summertime, and the living is, well, hot.
Wednesday marked the official start of summer, and it brought the region's first summer heat wave, sending thermometers past the 90-degree mark in Gloucester and around Cape Ann — and sending residents and visitors alike to beaches in Gloucester, Rockport and elsewhere across the North Shore.
The high temperatures led the city of Gloucester to open a "cooling center" at the Rose Baker Senior Center and brought a heat advisory from the National Weather Service that stretches through today, with more temperatures in the high 80s expected.
The Rose Baker Senior Center will provide air-conditioned space for people looking to get out of the heat, and will be open today from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to a Wednesday announcement from Mayor Carolyn Kirk. City officials encourage residents to tell people about the cooling center, especially elderly residents and those with medical conditions.
Rockport is taking similar steps.
Seniors there are encouraged to visit Rockport's air-conditioned Senior Center in the Community House at 58 Broadway, and Rockport Police are are encouraging friends and family members of seniors to check in on them during these and other especially hot days of summer.
Police said residents concerned about their elder friends and relatives should contact police or the Rockport Council on Aging.
The National Weather Service in Taunton issued its first 2012 heat advisory late Tuesday, covering Eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, northern Rhode Island and Connecticut.
"The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible," the advisory noted, encouraging residents to "avoid prolonged work in the sun or in poorly ventilated areas ... stay in an air-conditioned environment, stay out of the sun and check in on relatives and neighbors."
There may, however, be natural relief on the way.
According to Accuweather (see updated forecast, Page 16), the heat is expected to break a little with a thunderstorm on Friday, then drop down to the high 70s for the weekend.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.