Historic heat wave blasts Pacific Northwest as wildfire threat

Historic heat wave blasts Pacific Northwest as wildfire threat

PORTLAND: The Pacific Northwest swept Friday and braced for even warmer weather during the weekend as a historic heat wave hit Washington and Oregon, with temperatures expected to be 30 degrees above normal in many areas.
Extreme and dangerous heat was expected to break all-time records in cities and towns from eastern Washington state to Portland to southern Oregon as concerns grew about the risk of wildfires in the region that is already a crippling one. and are facing extended droughts.
Seattle was expected to rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) over the weekend, and in Portland, Oregon, weather forecasters said thermometers could rise to 108 F (42 degrees C) by Sunday, a score of 107 F. May break all-time records. (42 °C) was established in 1981. The unusually hot weather for most of the region was expected to extend into next week.
The National Weather Service said Seattle had hit 100 F only three times in recorded history, and there was a chance it could eclipse the record of 103 F (39 C) on Monday.
“If you’re keeping a written list of records that will fall, you may need a few pages early next week,” NWS Seattle tweeted, as it was announced that the city closed Friday for the highest morning Record was set for low temperature.
The extremely hot weather comes a week after a heat wave in the Intermountain West broke records from Montana to Arizona.
A northwest heat wave sent residents accustomed to mild heat to an area where many people do not have air conditioning. Stores selling portable air conditioners and fans, some hospitals canceled outdoor vaccination clinics, cities opened cooling centers, baseball teams canceled or moved weekend games, and utilities barred for potential power outages .
Washington Governor Jay Inslee lifts COVID-19 capacity restrictions on publicly owned or operated and non-profit cooling centers in light of the heat. Capacity is currently limited to 50% until the state fully opens up next Wednesday. And in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown suspended capacity limits for movie theaters and shopping malls — air-conditioned venues — as well as swimming pools before reopening statewide on Wednesday.
According to 2019 data from the US Census Bureau, Seattle has the lowest rate of air-conditioned homes of any major US city. Only 44% of homes in the metro area have air conditioning. The figure was 79% in the Portland metro area.
At a hardware store in Seattle, about a dozen people lined up before the air conditioning unit opened, hoping to snag it. An employee opened the door at 8 a.m. with bad news: There were only three units.
One of the lucky buyers was Sarah O’Sell, who was worried for her cat amid triple-digit predictions.
“Unfortunately, we’re starting to see this year over year,” said O’Cell, who used a dolly to move his new unit to his nearby apartment. “We’re going to be like California, and that’s going to be desert below. It’s only going to get hot.”
The sweltering temperatures expected on the final weekend of the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, also prompted USA Track and Field to reschedule several weekend events several times a day to avoid the extreme heat.
Portland Pickles, the city’s semi-professional baseball team, offered weekend tickets to people in the stands for $1.11 — a potential high on Sunday. And families stood in the scorching sun for ice cream and precious few hours at the community pool still working under capacity restrictions due to Covid-19.
Sarah Stathos was selling ice cream from inside an air-conditioned food truck in Portland and said the business would close over the weekend because ice cream “basically melts as we hand it out to customers” in such hot weather.
“We don’t want people to stand in the sun, wait and get sick,” she said.
The expanded “heat dome” was the taste of the future for the Pacific Northwest as climate change alters weather patterns around the world, said Christy Abbey, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its effects on public health. .
“We know from evidence around the world that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves. We have to get used to moving forward. Temperatures are rising, and extreme temperatures are increasing even more rapidly.” ,” He said.
“I tell my students that when they’re as old as me, they’ll look back and think about how great summers used to be.”
He said the heat is also a concern for the region because warm air absorbs moisture from soil and vegetation more efficiently than cold air, and this increases the risk of fires in everything.
Oregon was particularly devastated by an unusually intense wildfire season, which engulfed nearly 1 million acres (404,685 ha), burned more than 4,000 homes and killed nine people. According to the US Drought Monitor, several fires are already burning around the Pacific Northwest, and much of the region is already in extreme or exceptional drought.
Firefighters were being deployed ahead of time in areas where the risk of fire was high. Counties and cities across the region implemented burn bans—in some cases even temporarily banning individual fireworks—for the July 4th holiday weekend.

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