Jun. 26—In the next few days the Tri-Cities could come close to or even match the all-time high temperature recorded for the state of Washington.
The National Weather Service on Saturday upped his forecast temperatures to a high of 116 on Tuesday, up 4 degrees from its Friday prediction.
The weather service’s forecast highs are the center of a range, and temperatures could be a few degrees higher or lower.
The Weather Channel’s forecast is for hotter weather than predicted by the weather service.
It has increased its predicted high in Pasco to 117 on Tuesday, just short of the state’s all-time high.
The hottest temperature recorded in Washington state was 118 degrees on Aug. 5, 1961, at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, about 12 miles east of Pasco, according to the weather service.
Oregon has been a degree hotter with a high of 119 recorded in Pendleton on Aug. 10, 1898, and at Prineville on July 29 the same year.
Tri-Cities heat records for June are expected to fall.
In the Tri-Cities area, the record temperature for June in Kennewick is 110 set in 1912. In Pasco the record June temperature was 111 recorded in 2015.
Not only are temperatures expected to be exceptionally high for June, but the heat dome settling over the Northwest will stick around for more than a week
The Tri-Cities is forecast to swelter under temperatures of 110 degrees or hotter for at least four days starting Sunday.
A high of 106 was forecast for Saturday by the weather service.
Then the temperature could hit 111 on Sunday, 113 on Monday, 116 on Tuesday and 110 on Wednesday, according to the weather service. Highs Thursday and Friday are forecast at 108.
The Weather Channel, which predicts weather about two weeks out, expects 10 straight days of triple-digit temperatures in the Tri-Cities, followed by five more days of temperatures of 99 to 100.
Hot overnight temperatures
Public health officials are concerned that not only days will be warm, but that lows will not give bodies time to cool down, especially for those without good air conditioning.
The hottest night in the Tri-Cities is expected to be Monday, when the low is forecast at 79. The overnight low is not expected to drop below 75 through at least Thursday night, according to the weather service.
“The research we have shows it’s those nighttime lows that are really important to health,” said Brendon Haggerty, interim supervisor for Multnomah County, Oregon, Health Department’s Healthy Homes and Communities. “People rely on those temperatures to recover and to cool down their homes, but nights are not going to provide the relief we might normally get.”
The weather service’s excessive heat warning has been extended to cover the entire state of Washington and most of Oregon.
Concerns are high for those living along the Interstate 5 corridor, where many older homes are not equipped with air-conditioning.
AccuWeather called the heatwave “life-threatening” in Portland, Ore., where highs could reach 114 on Sunday at the Portland International Airport.
In Seattle, temperatures could soar 30 to 40 degrees above normal.
This extreme heat will be the result of a large northward bulge in the jet stream, according to AccuWeather.
“When the jet stream behaves this way, the air at mid- and upper-levels of the atmosphere becomes very warm,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. This upper-level heat can allow the surface to easily heat up.
Air quality issues
Air quality could be a problem in the Tri-Cities as a dome of hot air settles over the Northwest.
Temperatures in the triple digits increases the chances for elevated ozone levels, says the Benton Clean Air Agency.
It predicts air quality to deteriorate from good to moderate through Sunday. Air quality could worsen on Monday and Tuesday to a level that’s unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Ozone is good if it is in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, helping shield people from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
But it is harmful if it is near the ground and people are breathing it.
In the Tri-Cities pollutants, particularly those blown by light winds from the north, dam up against the Horse Heaven Hills. There particles bake in the sunshine on hot days, producing ozone, which spreads across the Tri-Cities.
The chemicals that create ozone can come from the exhaust of motor vehicles, a major contributor in the Tri-Cities, and the reason ozone is most often a problem in large cities, including Seattle.
If you plan to travel this weekend, Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson recommends making sure fluid levels in your car are topped off and that you take plenty of cold drinking water in case you break down.
For the most efficient cooling of your car’s interior, Pemco Insurance recommends taking the ventilation system off recirculation mode when you first start your car. Otherwise hot air will be recirculated within the car’s cabin.
Turning on the air conditioner before you get in the car and start driving won’t do much good, it says. The air conditioner compressor works best when the car is being driven.
The Washington State Department of Health is reminding residents that the heat will be dangerous.
“Hot weather and high temperatures can quickly go from uncomfortable to life-threatening,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the Washington state secretary of health.
Free water in Pasco
The city of Pasco will be giving out free bottles of water at Volunteer Park over the next several days.
Paradise Water has donated 1,000 bottles.
In addition, a self-service water bottle filling station has been set up in the park with bottles available at no cost for filling. City staff also is making sure that water fountains in other city parks are working.
The city of Richland said residents are welcome at three air-conditioned city buildings if they need a cool place during the day.
City Hall will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; Richland Public Library will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and the Richland Community Center will be open 8 to 5 p.m. weekdays and remain open until 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
People who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be asked to wear masks.
The Benton Franklin Health District has not canceled free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at outdoor sites, including at Columbia Basin College off Argent Road.
But it warns that if the heat gets too high to safely offer services, they could be canceled without notice.
Department of Health tips to stay safe include:
— Drink plenty of fluids but avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar. Carry water with you and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
— Avoid extreme temperature changes. Taking a cold shower right after coming in from the heat or jumping into cold water when swimming outside can cause rapid changes in your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure and even cause hypothermia.
— If you go outside, protect yourself from heat and sun. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, so make sure to use sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
— Check in frequently with family, friends and neighbors who are elderly, ill or may need help. Avoid dressing babies and children in heavy clothing or wrapping them in warm blankets.
— Keep outdoor pets safe in the heat, make sure they have protection from heat and sun and access to cold, fresh water. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, walk on grass if possible. Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle.
— If you notice symptoms of heat illness — dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps — act immediately. Move to a cooler location to rest for a few minutes and seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.