National Weather Service issues three different warnings for Pacific Northwest this week

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Eight-year-old Aleah Bennett, left, and five-year-old Amelia Stencil try to catch crawdads in McNulty Creek on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Stencil's dad, Douglas ( not pictured) said he and his daughter came out to the park to cool off and spend free time together as temperatures in the region began to heat up.  UPDATED: Columbia County and most of western Oregon was hit with a trifecta of weather warnings from the National Weather Service this week, with excessive heat, haze and fire danger alerts being issued throughout the week.

On Monday, July 31, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning effective noon Tuesday, Aug. 1, through 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4. On Tuesday evening, a red flag warning was issued as high temperatures and low humidity caused critical fire conditions across the region, which were in effect until Thursday night. By Wednesday morning, Aug. 2, an air quality alert was also issued as smoke from distant wildfires in British Columbia wafted into the region, causing poor air quality. That alert was extended until Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - While some businesses and public agencies set up cooling centers during the heatwave from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4, others set up hydration stations, like this one in the Scappoose Fred Meyer. Temperatures peaked in the low 100s during a three-day heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. As temperatures soared into the low 100s on Wednesday and Thursday, numerous cooling centers were opened throughout the county in public spaces, private businesses and in many faith centers to accommodate those who didn't have cooling systems at home, or were looking for a place to go. In total 11 centers were opened, while others flocked to waterways and parks to cool off.

On Wednesday afternoon, air quality at the Department of Environmental Quality's Sauvie Island Station was rated moderate, one step above the designation of "unhealthy for sensitive groups" due to smoky haze in the air.

Public health agencies primarily focused on warning the public about hazards of high heat throughout the week. The Scappoose Fire Department reminded residents to drink plenty of water, limit outdoor activities and cooking with the oven or stove, keep curtains closed during the day, and keep fans or air conditioners running.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a press release recommending those performing labor-intensive work to do so in the morning hours. The agency also encouraged people to take frequent breaks to cool off and suggested they avoid eating large meals or drinking caffeinated beverages, which can dehydrate the body.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services reminded employees in labor-intensive fields like construction and agriculture to be on the lookout for signs of heat-related illness, including symptoms of headaches, cramping, dizziness, fatigue and nausea.

While the heatwave was only in effect until Friday, predicted highs for the weekend were still expected to be in the 90s. A complete burn ban was enacted by fire officials earlier in the week and will remain in place until further notice.

Cooling centers open in Columbia County

Grace Baptist Church Grace Family Center

586 Ross Rd

Warren, OR 97053

HOURS: Thursday

1 – 3 p.m.

Rainier Senior Center

48 W 7th St

Rainier, OR 97048

HOURS: Wednesday – Thursday

1 – 7 p.m.

First Methodist Church

6th & Columbia Blvd

St. Helens, OR 9705

HOURS: Wednesday - Friday

2 - 7 p.m.

Vernonia Library

701 Weed Ave

Vernonia, OR 97064


Tuesday 1 - 7 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Scappoose Senior Center

33342 SW Meadow Dr.

Scappoose, OR 97056


Tuesday 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday 8 .am. - 6 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church

51555 SW Old Portland Rd

Scappoose, OR 97056


Wednesday and Thursday

1 - 6 p.m.

PUD community room

495 E Columbia River Hwy

Clatskanie, OR

HOURS: noon - 5 p.m.

Wednesday – Friday

St. Helens Public Library

375 S. 18th Street

St. Helens, OR 97051


Monday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Warren Community Fellowship

56523 Columbia River Hwy

Warren OR 97053


9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Tuesday through Friday

Columbia River People's Utility Distirtc

64001 Columbia River Hwy

Deer Island, OR 97054


Wednesday through Friday

1 - 6 p.m.

Scappoose Senior Center

33342 SW Meadow Dr.

Scappoose, OR 97056


Tuesday 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday 8 .am. - 6 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

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