Pacific Northwest baked in record heat wave

A thermal dome has enveloped the Pacific Northwest, pushing temperatures to extreme levels – with temperatures well above 100 degrees – and creating dangerous conditions in a part of the country unaccustomed to oppressive summer conditions or air conditioning.

One of the warmest cities in the region on Monday was Salem, Ore., About 45 southwest of Portland, where it reached 117 degrees in the afternoon, a record for the city, according to the National Weather Service.

At Portland International Airport in Oregon, it hit 115 degrees Monday, after it had reached 112 degrees on Sunday. Monday’s peak in Portland was the highest temperature on record there since the all-time highs began in 1940, the National Weather Service said.

The average high temperature for this time of year at the airport is around 73 degrees, forecasters said.

Monday, Seattle broke a record for the highest temperature ever recorded by the National Weather Service there: 107 degrees. The previous record of 105 degrees was set in July 2009.

“Good night cruel sauna – I mean, Seattle,” wrote Maddie Kristell, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Seattle. Twitter Saturday night, with a photo of two air conditioners she had on.

The national meteorological service published excessive heat warnings Monday for much of Washington and Oregon, as well as sections of California, Idaho and Nevada.

Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration adjusted its “climate normals”, baseline data on temperature, rain, snow and other weather variables collected over three decades at thousands of locations across the country.

“We really see the footprints of climate change in the normal news,” Michael Palecki, who manages the project at NOAA’s National Environmental Information Centers, said when the normals were updated.

Last year tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, as global temperatures continued to rise relentlessly caused by the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The warning for much of Oregon and Washington, where state and local entities have opened cooling centers, will remain in effect until Monday evening.

The weather anomaly in the Pacific Northwest, which forecasters attributed to a high pressure ridge stalled over British Columbia, even led the National Park Service to warn hikers that snow and ice are melting faster than normal on Mount Rainier in Washington.

“Even higher elevations such as Paradise will not escape the extreme heat that hits PNW,” the national park said on Twitter.

The heat is expected to persist in more easterly areas until at least the middle of the week, according to the National Weather Service. His forecasting office at Spokane, Wash., predicted high temperatures of at least 112 degrees from Sunday to Wednesday.

In anticipation of the heatwave, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington suspended limits on the number of people who could be accommodated in cooling centers run by the government and by nonprofit groups in the state.

The limits had been put in place as part of public health emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

the Seattle Library said on Sunday morning it was opening additional air-conditioned branches on Sunday and Monday to provide people with refuge from the heat.

the Oregon Health Authority announced on Friday that it had also lifted limits on the number of people who can congregate at swimming pools, cinemas and shopping malls.

At the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in North Seattle, the television channel KING 5 reported that the hotel’s air-conditioned rooms were full this weekend, the first time since the start of the pandemic.

“It was a blessing,” Ron Oh, the hotel’s general manager, told the station.

Mr. Oh, who is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Washington Hotel Association, said the phone was ringing constantly with questions about room availability.

“Usually it comes down to, ‘Oh my God it’s so hot, I need a place with air conditioning,’” he said.

Heather Murphy and Jesus Jimenez contributed reporting.

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