The sun shines in northern Connecticut where temperatures soared Thursday Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

With sweltering temperatures showing no signs of letting up on Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont extended Connecticut’s extreme hot weather protocol, leaving additional protections for vulnerable residents in place through the beginning of next week. 

Extreme heat and high humidity continued to impact much of the northeast region Thursday with the National Weather Service expecting heat index values between 95 and 104 degrees at least through Friday evening.

The state’s extreme weather protocol directs state emergency response agencies to share up-to-date information with municipalities and first responders on weather conditions as well as the availability of cooling stations. The protocol also uses the United Way’s 2-1-1 system to help direct residents to cooling centers. 

“It’s looking like we are in for a couple more days of high humidity, and I strongly encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions,” Lamont said. “Cooling centers are open throughout Connecticut. Anyone who needs some relief from the hot conditions should call 2-1-1 and they will direct you to the closest available location.”

Lamont activated the protocol on Tuesday with the expectation it would expire on Friday. Given recent forecasts, he extended it until the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 9. 

State officials urged residents to stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight, and remain in air-conditioned areas as much as possible. The heat puts older people and young children at higher risk. A press release from the governor’s office urged residents to check on vulnerable people and avoid leaving pets outside in the sun or in parked vehicles. 

Meanwhile, a state government working group met Thursday to monitor Connecticut’s ongoing drought conditions. The Interagency Drought Workgroup recommended classifying the state as experiencing an emerging drought event in mid-July and heard little in the way of good news during updates presented at its Thursday meeting.

Nicole Belk, a senior hydrologist at the National Weather Service, said some eastern Connecticut stations reported less than one inch of rainfall during the month of July. Meanwhile, most of the state ranged from slightly warmer than average to considerably warmer, she said. 

Belk said some predictions suggest it may be until September and October until the state sees its precipitation outlook improve.

“Maybe in the fall we might see some improvement,” she said.

The group scheduled a special meeting in two weeks to review the drought situation.