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REGION — Officials are once again urging heat safety amid “oppressive” heat peaks later this week.
The cities of Lowell and Lawrence are predicted to have a high of 105 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday. Bedford will remain slightly cooler, with a predicted high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures are expected to remain above 90 degrees over the weekend.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency urges residents to stay hydrated and to limit strenuous outdoor activities if possible. The agency urges people to monitor for symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke.
Those without air conditioning are urged to stay on their lowest floor if necessary, as well as utilize air conditioned public spaces, such as schools and libraries.
The Town of Westford has not announced additional cooling stations at the time of reporting. However, the J.V. Fletcher Library is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Officials urge water conservation amid little rainfall
The Water Department has implemented mandatory water restrictions for public water customers.
The region has experienced lower than normal rainfall, where data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show above average temperatures and below normal rainfall for the region. In Lowell, average temperatures for the month of July were 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, while rainfall remains two inches below normal.
Previously, the department required residents to minimize outdoor water usage between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
”Due to continued drought conditions, high demand, and temporary loss of the Country Road well source, the Westford Water Department is upgrading the Outdoor Water Use Restrictions to Stage III – no outdoor watering using sprinklers,” wrote the Water Department in a news release.
Under Stage III restrictions, all outdoor nonessential water use is prohibited. The department clarified that watering with a hand-held hose with automatic shut-off or watering can is allowed. Water of food gardens is also exempt from these restrictions.
Customers with an odd-numbered address may still only water on odd-numbered days from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. Customers with even-numbered addresses may only water on even-numbered days from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. Additionally, the filling of swimming pools is still prohibited.
The department will issue a $50 for the first offense, and $100 fines for subsequent offenses.
Restrictions took effect on Sunday, July 10 and will remain in effect until further notice.
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