Monday, August 8, 2022

The ongoing heat wave in the Pacific Northwest could break records

Portland, Ore. ( Associated Press) — Records for heat wave duration may be broken in the Pacific Northwest this week and officials are expanding capacity at some cooling centers as temperatures near triple digits are forecast to rise over the weekend.

“We’re going to be within a few degrees of 100 every day through Saturday for the next several days,” said Colby Newman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon.

Temperatures in Oregon’s largest city are forecast to rise again to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 Celsius) on Friday. On Tuesday, Portland set a daily record of 102 F (38.9 C).

Read more: Week-long heat wave scorches Pacific Northwest

Seattle also reported a record daily high of 94 F (34.4 C) on Tuesday. Heat wave conditions are also expected in western Washington through Saturday.

The National Weather Service has extended its extreme heat warning from Thursday to Saturday evening.

Newman said the duration of the heat wave puts Portland in “ongoing” the longest streak of six consecutive days at 95 F (35 C) or higher.

Climate change is driving prolonged heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, a region where week-long heat was historically rare, according to climatologists.

On Wednesday, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office said at least two people had died of suspected hyperthermia during the heat wave. One death occurred Monday in Portland, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office said. The state medical examiner’s office said the name of the heat-related death is preliminary and may change after further investigation.

Heat-related 911 calls in Portland have tripled in recent days, from an estimated eight calls on Sunday to 28 calls on Tuesday, said Dan Douthit, a spokesman for the city’s Bureau of Emergency Management. Most of the calls involved a medical response, Douthit said.

Multnomah County said more people are visiting emergency departments for heat-related symptoms.

“Emergency department visits have remained high since Sunday,” the county said in a statement. “In the past three days, hospitals have treated 13 people for heat illness, when they would normally expect to see two or three.”

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People who worked outside or exercised, along with older people, were among those taken to emergency departments, the statement said.

People in Portland’s iconic food cart industry are among those working out. Many food trucks have stopped as sidewalks.

Chef and food cart Monster Smash Burger owner Rico Loverde said the temperature inside his cart is typically 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature, making it 120 F (48.9 C) inside his small business this week. it happens.

Loverde said he shuts down if it reaches above 95 F (35 C) as his refrigerator overheats and shuts down. Last week, Loverde suffered a heat stroke from working long hours in his car, despite a slightly cooler temperature in the mid-90s, he said.

“It’s sad; it definitely hurts. I still pay my employees when we’re laid off like this because they have to pay the bills too, but that’s not good for a small business.” ,” he said on Tuesday.

Multnomah County said four of its emergency overnight cooling shelters were at half capacity on Tuesday, with 130 people spending the night. But seeing the high demand, the authorities decided to expand the capacity at four sites to accommodate around 300 people.

William Nonalucha, who lives in a tent in Portland, looked for shade with some friends as the temperature rose Wednesday afternoon. Nonaluicha was less than a minute’s walk from the cooling shelter set up by the local authorities, but didn’t know it was open. He said the heat in his tent was almost unbearable.

His friend Mel Taylor, who was homeless last year but now has transitional housing, said a man died of heat exhaustion in a tent near him during a record-breaking heat wave last summer and someone died. Didn’t realize it. He fears that something similar could happen this summer as well.

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“He was in his tent for like a week and smelled, that’s how they knew he was dead,” Taylor said. “it’s sad.”

Residents and officials in the Northwest are trying to adjust to the potential reality of long, hot heat waves after last summer’s deadly “heat dome” weather event that prompted record temperatures and deaths.

watch: The global climate crisis is at home in the US amid record heat and widespread wildfires

About 800 people died in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia during that heat wave in late June and early July. Temperatures at the time reached an all-time high of 116 F (46.7 C) in Portland and broke heat records in cities and towns across the region. Many of the dead were old and lived alone.

Other areas of the US often experience temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius. But in regions like the Pacific Northwest, people are not accustomed to heat and are more sensitive to it, said Craig Crandall, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“There is a very high risk of high instances of heat-related injuries and death for individuals in areas like the Northwest,” Crandall said.

Seattle and Portland officials issued an air quality advisory Tuesday, which is expected to last through Saturday, warning the smog could reach levels that could be unhealthy for vulnerable groups.

To the south, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory Wednesday for western Nevada and northeastern California, which is expected to last through Thursday morning through Saturday night. Across the region, record daytime high temperatures will hover between 99 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (37.22 to 40 C.).

Associated Press reporter Gabe Stern contributed from Carson City, Nevada.

Nation World News Desk
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