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Excessive heat anticipated at Annual Town Meeting. Temperatures on the football field may soar to over 100 degrees.

Greg Lane, Hingham Staff, June 20, 2020

Forecast based on the National Weather Service

Temperatures in Hingham will soar to almost 90 degrees for a second straight day, more than 10 degrees above average for this time of year according to the National Weather Service.  In response, Town officials will be setting up a cooling area and water tables to protect the health of Annual Town Meeting members.

"Voters are being encouraged to dress for the day, use sunscreen, bring umbrellas if they wish and water, although water will be available at the meeting as well,” said Town Moderator Michael Puzo.  Umbrellas that stick into the ground are not allowed. Neither are high heels.

According to the North Haven-based nonprofit group
Environment and Human Health Inc., synthetic turf fields can register 60 to 70 degrees hotter than the surrounding air temperatures.  This excess heat creates potential hazards with these types fields.  The reason is that synthetic turf fields absorb heat which results in higher surface temperatures, reports the Synthetic Turf Council an industry trade group.  Some health conditions can make it more challenging for the body to stay cool in hot weather.  These include advanced age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn and drug and alcohol use.

Board of Health Member Kirk Shilts shared ways to mitigate these concerns. He explained that fewer attendees and fewer senior residents will limit the risks and encouraged voters to dress for summer. 

To protect your health when temperatures are very high health experts from Harvard University recommend:

 

  • Drink lots of water throughout the day.

  • Stay indoors in an air-conditioned area whenever you feel too warm.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, preferably with a loose-weave material that lets air get to your skin.

  • Avoid strenuous activity in the hottest part of the day (between 10 AM and 4 PM). If you must participate, take frequent breaks.

  • Drink less caffeine and alcohol, which can contribute to dehydration.

  • If you begin to feel tired, dizzy or nauseated, or if you develop a headache, get out of the heat immediately. Seek out an air-conditioned building. 

 

Governor Baker recently signed emergency legislation to ease the challenges communities have faced from COVID-19 including a provision which would allow the Board of Selectmen to forego Annual Town Meeting and simply approve a financial plan based on a FY19 budget.  However, although that option has been adopted by other towns, it was not explored by Hingham's Board of Selectmen.  Moderator Puzo agrees with the Selectmen's decision. "Since Town Meeting constitutes Hingham’s legislature," he said, "convening the voters who comprise the Meeting before the end of our fiscal year is critical to conducting the business of the town."