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Unprecedented heat wave across the Pacific Northwest

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 12:39 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The past few days have been dangerously hot across the Pacific Northwest, with record temperatures unlike anything we’ve ever seen in that corner of the country. A strong dome of high pressure is to blame, causing temperatures to surge into the triple digits throughout Washington, Oregon, and even into Canada.

Several all-time record highs were broken Monday
Several all-time record highs were broken Monday(WOWT)

On Monday, several all-time record highs were broken, just one day after they had been shattered. Dallesport, Washington hit a high of 118°. Salem, Oregon soared to 117° after reaching 113° Sunday. Portland heated to 116° after hitting 112° Sunday. Seattle hit an all-time record high temperature of 108° Monday.

For perspective, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada is 117°.

Highs ran 30-40° above normal Saturday through Monday
Highs ran 30-40° above normal Saturday through Monday(WOWT)

The Pacific Northwest isn’t supposed to get this hot. The climate normal highs for this time of year range between 73° and 79° in Seattle, Salem, and Portland. With that in mind, we’re talking temperatures that are 30° to 40° above-average!

On a safety standpoint, air conditioning is not a guarantee in the Pacific Northwest. Though air conditioning has increased in Seattle, the city is still the least air-conditioned metro area in the country, with less than half of homes having A/C.

This heat didn’t stop at the border, either. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada (yes, the entire country) was broken Sunday, just to be broken again Monday. Lytton, British Columbia reached a high of 116°F Sunday before heating to 118°F Monday. Before this heat wave, the Canadian record high was 113°F - set in Saskatchewan in 1937.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada is now 118°
The hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada is now 118°(wowt)

The upper-level high pressure is pushing east, giving cities like Seattle and Portland a break from the triple-digits starting Tuesday. However, cities like Spokane, Washington and Boise, Idaho may continue to break records as the heat lingers through mid-week in the Intermountain West.

The heat dome is shifting east, but excessive heat continues for the Intermountain West
The heat dome is shifting east, but excessive heat continues for the Intermountain West(WOWT)

Experts believe extreme weather events such as this recent heat wave will become more and more common due to climate change. According to data from NOAA, the EPA reports heat waves are occurring more often in major U.S. cities and have become more intense over the past several decades.

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