Temperatures rose again yesterday in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, as a heat wave hit the northwest US and forecasters say smoke from wildfires will be a problem throughout the weekend.
An air quality alert was issued through Saturday night for much of the northwestern state of Washington due to smoke from fires in British Columbia, Canada and eastern Washington. But meteorologists said the layer of smoke may lower temperatures slightly.
Thursday in Portland the temperature reached 39 degrees Celsius (103 Fahrenheit) and temperatures in Seattle topped 32 degrees Celsius (90 F). In Bellingham, Washington, the thermometer read 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) for the first time in history. It’s the second major heat wave in less than a month in an area where there isn’t a lot of air conditioning. Record temperatures in late June killed hundreds in Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia.
A detailed scientific analysis concluded that the heat in June would have been virtually impossible without the climatic changes caused by human activity. A similar study with other thermal solids would be needed, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist at Yale University, but added that there was a general link between global warming and exacerbation of heat waves.
“If you increase the core temperature, there is a greater chance of extreme heat,” said Masters, co-founder of private Weather Underground.
Much of the Northwest was on high heat alert as of Saturday night. The National Weather Service said there were also warnings and warnings of high temperatures from the central northeast and the mid-Atlantic until at least Friday evening.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency and activated the Emergency Operations Center. City and county governments have opened cool-down spots, extended public library hours, and suspended bus fares for those heading to shelters to calm their nerves. The state’s hotline will be available 24 hours a day to give directions to the nearest cooling location and provide other heat advice.
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