PHOTOS: Portland metro braces as 'dangerous' heat dome hits
The heat is here — and it's a doozy.
Portland metro residents have drawn the curtains, bought up nearly every fan and air conditioning unit in stock and are heading toward any source of water as the sun shines mercilessly down on the region beginning Saturday, June 26 through at least Monday or Tuesday.
According to the forecast from the Tribune's news partner, KOIN 6 News, a record-setting heatwave is expected over the entire Pacific Northwest this weekend. The historical record for today — 102 degrees — has already been shattered, per the Oregonian.
The mercury will climb to at least 107 degrees today before reaching 115 degrees tomorrow and Monday — and the high won't drop into the 80s until at least Wednesday, according to the latest predictions.
"Overnight low temperatures will not fall below 70-75 degrees tonight across the metro area," said KOIN meteorologist Steve Pierce.
While experts explain it's nearly impossible to draw a direct link between localized weather and global climate change, those who study the matter are already sounding alarms bells about the historic weather. If you think this is bad, they say, just wait 'til 2030.
"Since 1975, there have been fewer than 25 days with temperatures above 100°F in Portland — that averages out to less than one day per year," said Kristy Dahl, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It's clear that the Eye of Sauron has turned to the Pacific Northwest."
The Oregon Health Authority has lifted all capacity limits on swimming pools, indoor malls and movie theaters in response to the heat wave — as well as on public transit and at cooling centers.
"Windows on buses will be open weather permitting for additional airflow," a TriMet official said. "It will take us a few days to update all the signs on our buses, trains and stations, so you may see things that are out-of-date."
• A full list of cooling shelters, including libraries and the Oregon Convention Center, in Multnomah County can be found here.
• Learn how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and other related illness here.
"Health officials say this heat wave is particularly dangerous because we don't expect it to adequately cool down at night, which increases the risk of heat-related illnesses," said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Officials with the Energy Trust of Oregon remind residents to shut their windows during the day and draw the blinds — as the air is likely hotter outside during the day, and sun rays entering the home will increase the temperature as well.
"Close windows and window coverings in hot weather during the day to keep hot air out. Open windows at night or early morning to let cool air in," the organization said in a release. "Place a fan in the window to keep air moving and help you feel cool by pulling cool air in and drawing warm air out. Try using a box or window-mounted fan on the shady side of your home to draw in cool air."
Will the power go out?
Portlanders are asked to do their part now to prvent a potential emergency that would still spinning fans and depower A.C. units.
According to KOIN, around 70% of Portlanders now own air conditioners — up from just 20% a few decades ago. Local utilies such as Portland General Electric recommend keeping those units set at a balmy 78 degrees to keep the grid functioning.
What if I don't live in Portland?
• In Canby, Denny's Restaurant at 1369 S.E. 1st Ave. and a Lutheran church at 190 S.W. 3rd Ave will be available as a cooling center, and Molalla HOPE Inc. will open as a cooling shelter as well.
• In West Linn, the Adult Community Center, at 1180 Rosemont Road will be open as a cooling center.
• In Wilsonville, the public library will provide residents a chance to cool off by extending its hours.
• The Scappoose Public Library plans to open their meeting room as a small cooling center on days when the forecast reaches 95 degrees as well.
• Tualatin's Juanita Pohl Center will open as a cooling center from Saturday through Monday.
• The city of Lake Oswego is offering two locations to escape the heat during the weekdays and on the weekend: City Hall and the public library.
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