Heatwave Continues In Pacific Northwest As Salem Hits 117 Degrees

Oregon and Washington, along with several other states and parts of Canada have been baking in the historic heatwave this week. Sunday Canada broke it's high-temperature record when Lytton British Columbia reached 116 degrees. Monday Salem Oregon was listed as the hottest city in the country that day at 117 degrees Fahrenheit, the city's hottest day since record keeping started in the 1890's. The heatwave is now expected to continue through the 4th of July.

Once In A Thousand Year Event

Heatwave map of the Pacific Northwest via weather.gov

According to Jeff Berardelli, the CBS news meteorologist and climate specialist, the Northwest is currently under an Omega Block shaped heat dome. He called this a, "once in a thousand year event." The heat is currently trapped and sitting in a dome over the affected areas in the Northwest.

Stores have been running out of portable air condition units, people have been taking refuge at cooling centers, and others have been toughing it out at home and hoping the power doesn't go out from the strain on the power grid.

Those visiting grocery stores may have noticed plastic sheets hanging over refrigerated units to hold the cold air in and keep items like eggs and yogurt cool. The heat hasn't been a concern just for grocery stores in the Northwest however, as dozens of restaurants have shut down temporarily until the heatwave passes.

Restaurants across Oregon, Washington, and up into Canada have had to close because of lack of air conditioning or air conditioning that can't cope with the extreme heat. This has been for the safety and well-being of staff as well as customers. The kitchens in restaurants often run much hotter than the dining area, and air conditioning units can't keep up with the heat to keep staff and customers cool. You can see a list of Seattle Restaurants that have had to close due to the heat here.

As a result of the unprecedented hot and dry conditions, some Oregon cities have begun to ban fireworks in hopes that new wildfires can be avoided this year. Bend has led the way by banning Fireworks through July 9th, 2021, and other Oregon cities have thought about doing the same.

Current fire and smoke plume map via 2021https://fire.airnow.gov/

There are already several wildfires across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest at this time, and the worry is that new fires caused by fireworks and dry conditions will overwhelm fire crews. People may already be noticing an increase of smoke in their area as huge smoke plumes are coming from two fires near Mount Shasta in Northern California, the Lava and Tennent fires. The Tennent fire was caused by a car fire on Highway 97.

Updated Excessive Heat Warnings For Oregon

Heatwave map via weather.gov

Here are the areas currently under an excessive heat warning and heat advisories from NOAA weather:

From June 29th to July 4th, 2021:

  • Central Oregon
  • Eastern Columbia River Gorge
  • Lower Columbia Basin
  • Foothills of Blue Mountains and Southern Blue Mountains
  • Northern and Southern Blue Mountains
  • North Central Oregon
  • Grand Ronde Valley
  • Wallowa County
  • Ochoco-John Day Highlands and John Day Basin
  • East Slopes of Oregon Cascades

From June 29th to July 1st 2021:

  • Central, Eastern and Western Lake County
  • Eastern Curry County
  • Josephine County
  • Eastern Douglas County Foothills, and Central Douglas County
  • Jackson County
  • Klamath Basin, Northern and Eastern Klamath County
  • Siskiyou Mountains and Southern Oregon Cascades
  • South Central Oregon Cascades

From June 29th to July 3rd, 2021:

  • Baker County
  • Lower Treasure Valley

From June 29th to June 30th, 2021

  • Harney County
  • Malheur County

For June 29th, 2021

  • Central Columbia River Gorge
  • Upper Hood River Valley

There is also a red flag warning from June 28th to June 29th for the Klamath Basin and the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

You can stay up to date on extreme weather warnings here.

Tips To Stay Healthy During The Heat Wave

Heatwave map of the Pacific Northwest via weather.gov

Here are some tips to keep you healthy and safe during the heat wave according to NOAA weather:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned room.
  • Stay out of the sun.
  • Check up on relatives and neighbors.
  • Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
  • Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 911.

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