SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Authorities on Sunday issued an excessive heat watch for the U.S. Pacific Northwest region for coming days as potential record-breaking temperatures were forecast to settle in and linger until next weekend.
Temperatures could break daily records in Seattle, Portland and areas of Northern California by Tuesday, potentially reaching their highest levels since last year’s deadly heat wave that killed hundreds of people across the Pacific Northwest.
Highs ranging from 95 degrees (35 degrees Celsius) to 110 degrees (43 Celsius) were forecast for inland areas. An excessive heat watch was issued for central and eastern Washington state and the central Idaho Panhandle from Tuesday morning through Friday evening.
Much of the region is unaccustomed to such high temperatures and many homes don't have air conditioning. Authorities cautioned that indoor heat was likely to build through the week, increasing the chances for people to suffer heat-related illnesses.
There will be little relief at night, forecasters said.
The average low temperature in the Portland area is 58 degrees (14 Celsius) in July but it is possible the nighttime temperature will not drop below 70 degrees (21 Celsius) in the upcoming week. As a result, authorities there said they were planning to open overnight cooling shelters as soon as Tuesday.
“This heat wave is going to last for several days. And with little relief at night, the risks are going to be compounded,” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said in an announcement of the plan.
The heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest last June toppled prior records with temperatures that hit 118 degrees (47C degrees) in some places and killed an estimated 600 or more people in Oregon, Washington state and western Canada.