Northwest heat wave sends people to cooling centres

As the Pacific Northwest heat wave continued, people headed to cooling centers Wednesday. This was just over a month after the record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of the most vulnerable residents in the region.

Northwest heat wave sends people to cooling centres

The temperature reached 97°F (36.1 Celsius) in Portland, Oregon by evening. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures could soar up to 111 F (44 C), in certain parts of western Oregon before cooling off over the weekend. For three consecutive days, it's more likely that temperatures will reach 100 F (38 C), or higher. The temperature will peak at 105 F (40.5 C) Thursday.

In other areas of the country, sizzling temperatures were also expected. According to the weather service, heat warnings and advisories would be in place from the Midwest to Northeast and mid-Atlantic until Friday.

According to Tyler Kranz, if it hadn't already, the high temperatures in Portland would have broken all-time records. While Seattle will be cooler that Portland with temperatures in the mid 90s, it still has the potential to break records. Many people in Seattle, just like Oregon, don't have air conditioner.

It was much hotter than Phoenix, a desert city known for its scorching summer temperatures.

People will often say that it doesn't matter if it's 106 degrees or 108 degrees. It can get this hot in Arizona all year," Kranz stated. "We can't be compared to the desert Southwest."

Before Wednesday's opening, people began to come into the 24-hour cooling centre in north Portland. Volunteers and county workers set up cots, and hundreds of water bottles were stacked in the center's air-conditioned area in a vacant building.

The few who arrived were homeless, making them vulnerable to heat stroke. December Snedecor was one of them. He slept in the same place for two nights during June, when temperatures reached 116 F (47 C).

She stated that she was going to return there this week as the heat was too much.

"I poured water all over myself. It was up in the teens, hundred-and-something heat. It made me dizzy. It was awful," Snedecor stated about the heat in June. "I have to keep cool. "I don't want death."

Gov. Governor In addition to opening cooling centers, the city and county governments have extended public library hours and waived bus fare for those who are heading to cooling centres. The state has a 24-hour helpline that can direct people to the closest cooling shelter or give them safety tips.

Spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management Dan Douthit said that emergency officials have sent out alerts to mobile phones.

He said, "We don’t know how hot it will get. But we’re planning for the worst-case scenario."

Back-to-back heat wave, combined with an extremely hot and dry summer, is causing havoc in a region that sees summer highs hovering around the 70s or 80s. Intense heat waves and a historic drought in the American West reflect climate change that is making weather more extreme.

The deadly June heat in Oregon and Washington killed hundreds of people. It also served as a warning for the future in a warmer world. It was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change, a detailed scientific analysis found.

Officials in Oregon have released the names and addresses of 96 heat-related deaths. Hot weather is being investigated for possible causes. Washington state has reported more than 100 heat-related deaths. British Columbia officials say that hundreds of heat-related deaths were likely to have occurred due to the high temperatures.

Vivek Shandas from Portland State University, who is a professor of climate adaptation, stated that the toll revealed huge blind spots in emergency planning in an area not used to dealing with high temperatures.

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 that was supposed to provide information on cooling centers was not staffed during peak heat. This resulted in hundreds of callers getting stuck in a voicemail menu without a prompt for heat-related assistance. Portland's famous light-rail train was also cut off to reduce strain on power grids, thus eliminating an option for residents with low income seeking relief.

Local and state officials added cooling centers to their systems and included a prompt on the call center voicemail.

"We knew it was coming a week ahead of time. Shandas asked, "What would happen if an earthquake were to strike us a week ahead of time?" Shandas said, "That's the type of thinking we should be aligned with."

Even younger residents were affected by the heat in June, and they feared for this week's scorching temperatures.

Katherine Morgan, 27, lives in an apartment on her third floor without air conditioning. She can't afford a window unit with the money she earns working as a hostess and at a bookshop.

Thursday will be a hot day, so she'll need to walk to work.

Morgan stated, "All my friends and me knew climate change was real. But it's becoming really scary because it was slowly getting hotter -- and it suddenly got very hot, really quickly."

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