PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Temperatures in Portland, Oregon, could top 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) Tuesday, the hottest day of a week-long heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that has rarely burned through. Weather.
Forecasters issued extreme heat warnings for parts of Oregon and Washington state. Temperatures could reach the 90s (32 C) in Seattle and 110 F (43.3 C) in parts of eastern Oregon and Washington.
While inland areas of the states often experience high temperatures, places like Portland and Seattle don’t have such hot blasts as often.
“Five-day stretches or a week of over 90 degrees are very rare in the Pacific Northwest,” said Vivek Shantas, a professor of climate adaptation at Portland State University.
As the Northwestern United States warmed, the heat appeared to have broken up along the East Coast, with some areas east of the Mississippi River under heat advisories.
Philadelphia hit 99 degrees (37 Celsius) on Sunday before factoring in the humidity. Newark, New Jersey, had its fifth straight day of 100 degrees or higher, the longest such streak since records began in 1931. Boston also reached 100 degrees, surpassing the previous daily high of 98 degrees (36.6 Celsius) set in 1933.
Highs in the mid-80s (around 29 Celsius) were forecast for Tuesday in Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
Residents and officials in the Northwest are trying to adjust to the reality of extreme heat waves following last summer’s deadly “heat dome” weather event, which sparked record temperatures and deaths.
In response, the Portland Bureau of Housing, which oversees city housing policy, will require newly constructed subsidized housing to have air conditioning in the future.
A new Oregon law requires all new homes built after April 2024 to have air conditioning installed in at least one room. The law already prohibits landlords from restricting tenants from installing air conditioning equipment in their rental units in most cases.
The measures were taken in response to a heat wave in late June and early July 2021 that killed about 800 people in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Temperatures soared to 116 degrees F (46.7 C) in Portland and broke heat records in cities and towns across the region. Many of the dead were elderly and lived alone.
Although temperatures are not expected to be that high this week, the expected number of hot days has raised concerns among officials.
Portland, Oregon, could top 100 degrees F (37.8 C) on Tuesday, and temperatures are forecast to stay above historical averages throughout the week across much of western Oregon and Washington.
“The magnitude is nothing we haven’t seen before, but the timing of the event is very unusual,” said John Bumgardner, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Portland.
Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Management is opening cooling centers in public buildings and installing misting stations in parks. In Seattle, community centers and libraries serve as cooling stations.
Multnomah County, which includes Portland, will open four overnight emergency cooling shelters starting Tuesday where people can spend the night.
Officials hope the outreach efforts will help people who face the greatest heat risks, including the elderly, those who live alone, people with disabilities, low-income family members without air conditioning and those without homes.
Jenny Carver, Multnomah County’s emergency manager for the county Department of Human Services, said her work is focused on “making sure these sites are as minimally disruptive as we can make them.”
“Everybody asks us to give us a name, and we don’t check any identification,” Carver said. “We’re providing as many resources as we can.”
Overnight temperatures in the Pacific Northwest shouldn’t dip below the 70s, said Drina Jensen, Portland Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
“In urban areas we have the urban heat island effect, which keeps temperatures warmer for a little longer and has more warming impacts,” he said.
Claire Rush is a corps member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues. Follow her Twitter.
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