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Regional Interests

Scorching daytime highs, warm overnight temps pose heat danger this week

In this Saturday, June 26, 2021, file photo, a paramedic treats a man experiencing heat exposure during a heat wave, in Salem, Ore. High temperatures are forecast again for the week ahead.
In this Saturday, June 26, 2021, file photo, a paramedic treats a man experiencing heat exposure during a heat wave, in Salem, Ore. High temperatures are forecast again for the week ahead.

A summer of brutal and deadly heat will continue this week, as the National Weather Service forecasts temperatures again reaching into the triple digits across much of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

High pressure is expected to build across much of Oregon on Tuesday, allowing temperatures to rise between Wednesday and Saturday.

The National Weather Service’s Portland office predicts temperatures will reach the high 90s by midweek and possibly crest into the 100s on Friday and Saturday. A small chance exists for “temperatures to climb as high as 110 degrees,” according to forecasts released Sunday.

“Overnight lows should also be quite warm during this time, running in the upper 60s or low 70s and potentially contributing to an increased risk for heat related illnesses during this time,” the weather service stated.

A combination of high daily temperatures and warm overnight lows contributed to at least 96 deaths in a late June heat wave that caught Oregon leaders unprepared. More than 400 other heat-related deaths were recorded in the same heat wave across the West.

Since those deaths, Oregon leaders have been more proactive about making resources available to help cool vulnerable people during subsequent heat waves. As of Sunday, Multnomah County had not yet announced any changes to cooling center operational hours for this week’s heat.

People living in Central and Eastern Oregon are also like to see triple-digit heat again this week, with highs predicted up to 109 degrees in The Dalles on Friday.

“Heat highlights are likely starting Thursday and may extend into next week, with overnight lows hovering around 70 degrees through the Lower Columbia Basin,” the National Weather Service’s Pendleton office reported Sunday.

Climate scientists who studied the deadly June heat wave in the Pacific Northwest concluded it would have been virtually impossible without climate change. In our current climate, they calculated the likelihood of such extreme heat occurring as 1 in 1,000.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting