Unprecedented in history??: Northwest heat wave accumulates, record declines
Portland, Oregon (Associated Press)-Fierce. extend. Record-breaking. Unprecedented. unusual. dangerous.
This is how the National Weather Service described the historic heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest, pushing the daytime temperature to three digits, disrupting the Olympic qualifying games, and breaking the highest temperature record in history in places that are not used to such extreme heat.
Portland, Oregon, reached 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) on Sunday, breaking the historical temperature record of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) set a day earlier.
In Eugene, Oregon, the U.S. track and field test stopped on Sunday afternoon, and fans were asked to evacuate the stadium due to the extreme heat. The National Weather Service said that Eugene’s temperature reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius), breaking the historical record of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius).
Salem, the capital of Oregon, also set an all-time high on Sunday: 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius), 4 degrees higher than the old record.
The temperature at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) on Sunday. NWS stated that this equals the historical record, which is the first three-digit number of days recorded for two consecutive days in the area since the record began in 1894.
Records across the region are being broken, and it is expected that the high temperature on Monday will get hotter before the temperature starts to cool down on Tuesday.
There were also some power outages. Portland General Electric said that about 3,000 customers in the Greater Portland area lost power on Sunday afternoon. Puget Sound Energy reports that there are 3,400 customers in the greater Seattle area.
The heat wave extended to British Columbia, and the temperature in Leiden Village, Canada, reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) on Sunday afternoon, a record high in Canadian history.
High temperature warnings have been issued in most parts of western Canada, and the country’s Meteorological Bureau said that a large number of daily temperature records in British Columbia, just north of Washington State, have been broken.
Due to “unsafe and dangerous pool deck temperatures”, Seattle’s weather became so hot on Sunday that the City Parks Department closed a community swimming pool in the south of the city.
Due to the high temperature, Jinxian closed several COVID-19 detection points. According to the Seattle Times, Seattle opened more public library branches on Sunday and will open more cooling centers again on Monday.
Sound Transit said on Sunday that due to overheating on the tracks, Seattle light rail trains may have to slow down, causing delays that may continue into the work week.
The heat wave has also entered Idaho. Starting from Monday, it is expected that Boise’s temperature will exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) for at least 7 days. Forecasters say that Ontario, Oregon, a city close to the border with Idaho, may experience three-digit temperatures for at least a week, including temperatures as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday.
The city reminds residents where there are swimming pools, splash mats and cooling centers, and urges people to stay hydrated, check neighbors and avoid strenuous activities.
Despite this, about 3,000 athletes participated in the triathlon in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on Sunday. The start time of the race was moved to 5 a.m. The race included 2.4-mile swimming, 112-mile cycling and 26.2-mile marathon (3.9 kilometers of swimming, 180 kilometers of cycling and 42 kilometers of running).
According to KHQ-TV, the organizers of the competition stated that they have 62,000 pounds (28,000 kg) of ice on the water refill station, spray station and frozen towels that can be distributed to athletes.
The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department has added additional firefighters and paramedics because they usually receive additional dehydration calls during the event. According to KREM-TV, they had 60 firefighters on Sunday instead of 17 firefighters.
Ironman Medical Tent Coordinator Stan Foster said that 525 people were in the medical tent during Ironman in 2015, when the temperature rose to more than 100 degrees. He told KREM-TV that five people had gone to the hospital.
“The most important thing we tell people is, first, don’t try to set a record in your game. Take your time. Have a good time. The weather will be very hot,” he said. “Then don’t just drink water.”
The National Weather Service in Coeur d’Alene stated that this week’s weather “may be one of the most extreme and longest heat waves ever recorded in the inland northwest.”
The hot weather is caused by an extended “hot dome” parked in the Pacific Northwest. Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its impact on public health, said that as climate change reshapes global weather patterns, heat waves that last for several days are an experience for the future.
The high temperature is expected to enter western Montana from Monday.