Oregon’s largest city is likely to break another heat record Sunday after hitting an all-time high Saturday, forecasters said, after cities across the Pacific Northwest grappled with some of the hottest days in their history.
Portland, Oregon, reached 108 degrees Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, beating its previous record of 107, which was hit in 1965 and 1981.
Seattle Tacoma International Airport broke its previous daily record by 12 degrees Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, reaching an all-time high of 102.
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Stores sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, hospitals canceled outdoor vaccination clinics, baseball teams canceled or moved up weekend games, and utilities braced for possible power outages, according to the Associated Press. Many cities have opened cooling centers.
The forecast for the next week is for even hotter temperatures, and more all-time heat records are set to be hit, the National Weather Service tweeted about the Pacific Northwest — a region accustomed to mild weather where many don’t have air conditioning.
Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its effects on public health, told the Associated Press that the heat wave is a sign of what to expect in the future as climate change reshapes weather patterns worldwide.
“We know from evidence around the world that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves. We’re going to have to get used to this going forward,” she said.
Officials in Multnomah County, Oregon were asking for volunteers to help staff cooling centers as older people, homeless residents and others struggled with the heat.
Cascades Street Outreach, an advocacy group for people experiencing homelessness, was going to homeless camps in the region to encourage people to use the cooling centers, it added.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said on Twitter that he will remove Covid-19 gathering restrictions in many cooling centers to address the heat wave.
Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon also suspended capacity limits for movie theaters and shopping malls — places with air-conditioning — as well as swimming pools ahead of a statewide reopening Wednesday.