Sunday, August 7, 2022

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing the worst heatwave of the year

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The heatwave began heating the region Monday, with areas east of the Cascades reaching the upper 100s, including Medford, Oregon, which peaked at 107 degrees. In northeastern Oregon, the city of Pendleton hit 102 degrees, worsening a parched area of ​​the state that’s been hit by extreme drought in places, according to the US Drought Monitor.

The week of July 24 was the worst heatwave the Pacific Northwest has experienced since the deadly 2021 heatwave broke all records across the region.

The increasing drought helped fuel the heatwave and may cause problems later in the region, such as: B. worsening of drought conditions. The dry soil allows the intense July sun to heat the air faster rather than wasting energy evaporating moisture from the soil. This can help raise temperatures by up to 20 degrees above average in an already warm part of the year.

Tuesday quickly proved to be a more intense heat day for the Pacific Northwest as multiple daily high records fell in Washington and Oregon. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in western Washington was among places where the airport recorded a high of 94 degrees Tuesday, beating the previous daily record by 2 degrees.

Further south, Olympia, Washington also broke a daily record by reaching 97 degrees. Other areas of Washington surpassed the century mark on Tuesday, with some places, like Dallasport, topping 110 degrees. About 90 miles east of Seattle, the city of Ellensburg broke a daily high of 4 degrees when mercury topped 103 degrees on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s extremely brutal heat stretched south and affected much of Oregon, prompting Gov. Kate Brown to declare states of emergency in 25 counties to ensure additional resources were deployed amid the heat.

“It is critical that every level of government have the resources it needs to ensure the safety and health of Oregon residents,” Brown said in a press release.

Portland, Oregon hit 102 degrees on Tuesday, breaking the previous all-day record by 2 degrees. The heat in Portland and other parts of the Pacific Northwest held on for most of the week, but some relief helped keep temperatures slightly lower on Wednesday and Thursday.

Some marginal moisture associated with the North American monsoon over the southwest spread north in the form of patchy high clouds on Wednesday. The cloudiness brought some relief as temperatures dropped a few degrees in some places compared to Tuesday.

Portland, Oregon stayed below 100 degrees, and Seattle barely surpassed 90 as cloud cover provided relief and helped keep those areas away from record temperatures.

The relief was short-lived, however, as daily records were broken again on Thursday.

The current heat wave has lasted longer than last year’s historic heat in many areas along the Pacific coast. Even as temperatures fell below all-time levels, people living in coastal areas faced excessive heat for five to seven days before aid arrived.

The prolonged heat, especially along the coast where there are fewer air-conditioned homes than the national average, can be a serious problem for people with respiratory problems, the elderly, young children and the homeless.

Cooling centers have been of great help in keeping those without air conditioning in the Pacific Northwest cool. Those in Oregon can see where their nearest cooling center and other heat-related resources are located on 211 info. For Washington, these centers and resources can be found at wa211.org or by dialing 211.

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