PORTLAND, Ore. — People in the rise above 100 F (38 C) for three consecutive days, peaking around 105 F (40.5 C) on Thursday.braced for another significant, multiday heat wave starting Wednesday, just over a month after record-shattering hot weather killed hundreds of the region’s most vulnerable when temperatures soared to 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 Celsius). In a “worst-case scenario,” the temperature could reach as high as 111 F (44 C) in some parts of western Oregon by Friday before a cooldown, the National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon, warned this week. It’s more likely temperatures will
Those are eye-popping numbers in a usually temperate region and would have come close to — or broken — records if it weren’t for the late June heatwave, meteorologist Tyler Kranz, said. Seattle will be more relaxed than Portland, with temperatures in the mid-90s, but it still has a chance to , and many people there, like in Oregon, don’t have air conditioning. “We’ll often hear , ‘Who cares if it’s 106 or 108? It gets this hot in Arizona all the time.’ Well, people in Arizona have air conditioning, and here in the Pacific Northwest, many people don’t,” Kranz said. “You can’t compare us to the desert Southwest.”
Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency over the heat and activated an emergency operations center, citing potential disruptions to the power grid and transportation. City and county governments are opening cooling centers and misting stations in public buildings, extending the hours of public libraries, and waiving bus fares for those headed to cooling centers. A statewide helpline will direct callers to the nearest cooling shelter and offer tips on how to stay safe.
The back-to-back heatwaves, coupled with an exceptionally warm and dry summer overall, are pummeling a region where summer highs usually drift into the 70s or 80s. The heat comes amid a historic drought across the American West, both tied to. The June heat in Oregon, Washington, and killed hundreds of people. It was a wake-up call as makes weather more extreme in the historically temperate region. A scientific analysis found that the heatwave was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.
In Oregon,at least 83 people died of heat-related illness, and the hot weather is being investigated as a possible cause of 33 more deaths. reported at least 91 heat deaths, and officials in British Columbia say hundreds of “sudden and unexpected deaths” were likely due to the soaring temperatures. The toll exposed substantial blind spots in emergency planning in a region unaccustomed to dealing with such high temperatures, said Vivek Shandas, a professor of climate adaptation at Portland . Most of those who died in Oregon were older, homebound, and socially isolated, and many were unable or unwilling to get to cooling centers.
The call center designed to provide information about cooling centers was unstaffed during part of the peak heat, and hundreds of callers got stuck in a voicemail menu that didn’t include a prompt for heat-related help. Portland’s famed light-rail train also grid, eliminating a transportation option for low-income residents seeking relief. “We knew a week in advance. What would happen if we knew an earthquake would hit us a week in advance?” Shandas said. “That’s the thinking we need to be aligned with. We know something disastrous is coming, and we must get all hands on deck and focus on the most vulnerable.”
Yet even younger residents struggled with the heat in June and dreaded this week’s sweltering temperatures. Katherine Morgan, 27, has no air conditioning in her third-floor apartment and can’t afford a window at a bookstore and as a hostess at a brewery. She tried to keep cool by taking cold showers, dousing her hair with water, eating Popsicles, and sitting immobile in front of a fan for hours. She estimated it hit 112 F (44 C) in her apartment in June.
Morgan, who doesn’t have a car, got ill from the heat after walking 20 minutes to work when it was 106 F (41 C). The heat from the sidewalk, she said, felt like it was “cooking my ankles.” She took the following two days off rather than risk it again. This week, she’ll have to walk to work Thursday, when temperatures could again soar just as high. “All my friends and I knew that climate change was real, but it’s getting said. “It’s eye-opening.” Follow Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus.