As LGM’s west coast correspondent, I can tell you that we’re making history!
The most severe heat wave that the Pacific Northwest has ever endured is underway. Predicted to be “historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented,” according to the National Weather Service, it’s already rewriting the record books.
On Sunday, Portland soared to its highest temperature in more than 80 years of record-keeping: 112 degrees. This new mark occurred just one day after hitting 108, which had broken the previous all-time record of 107. Seattle surged to 104 degrees Sunday, surpassing the old record of 103.
The extraordinary heat swelled north of the international border as Canada saw its highest temperature ever recorded Sunday afternoon, when Lytton in British Columbia surged to 116 degrees.
And, of course, as Paul recently observed this will get much worse before it gets better, because of the phenomenon one of our two major parties is in near-total denial about:
The strength of the heat dome, or sprawling zone of high pressure centered near the U.S.-Canada border, promoting these temperatures is simply off the charts. Its intensity is so statistically rare that it might be expected only once every several thousand years on average. But man-made climate change has made exceptional events like this many times more probable.
In the coming days, loads of high temperature records are expected to fall. Due to the heat wave’s longevity, new record-long streaks for surpassing different temperature thresholds are also anticipated. For example, Seattle is forecast to experience triple-digit heat on three straight days for the first time on record.
As for what it’s like to have this kind of heat in cities not remotely built for it, this captures it well:
The air feels like it is on fire. It's actually painful, even when you are in the shade. And the sun is only tolerable for a couple of seconds at most.
The temperatures are not dropping at night. And because it's summer, the sun is out from 5am until 10pm.— Geraldine (@everywhereist) June 28, 2021
It's 10:30pm and it's 95 degrees. The stores have run out of ice. It feels apocalyptic.
The normal temps for this time of year are in the 70s. It's 40 degrees hotter.
If this fluctuation were in the other direction, it would literally be snowing.— Geraldine (@everywhereist) June 28, 2021