Editor’s note: This is a live account of heat wave updates from Sunday, June 27, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the weather.
Saturday was a history-making scorcher throughout the Seattle area — and Sunday was even hotter.
Sunday’s temperatures set records, reaching 104 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to the National Weather Service — one degree higher than ever previously recorded in the city. Meteorologists expect Monday’s temperatures to further shatter those records.
Over the weekend, fans and air conditioners were sold out at many stores, and parking lots at swimming beaches were crammed by noon. But even as the city sizzled, government services remained stable, per Seattle’s emergency operations center.
Meteorologists have called the weekend forecast an “unprecedented event.” The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for most of Western Washington, effective through Monday evening.
The so-called heat dome — a heat wave that sits over one region — has stretched across the western United States for nearly two weeks, setting record temperatures.
Throughout Sunday, on this page, we’ll post updates about rising temperatures in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest, how residents are coping, and resources provided for those trying to beat the heat.
Homeless Seattleites face difficult decisions amid city's extreme heat
When temperatures began to climb above 90 degrees Sunday morning, Sophia was one of the few people waking up on one of the 73 mats laid out on the floor of Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, an emergency cooling center set up by the city and The Salvation Army.
She and her husband typically bounce around downtown, sometimes in a tent. But when an outreach worker told Sophia, 50, that Fisher Pavilion would be open during the potentially life-threatening heat wave over the weekend, the couple decided to come inside.
“My concern is just staying hydrated and also being able to bathe,” said Sophia, who declined to give her last name because of privacy concerns.
In a city generally ill-prepared for extreme weather, few residents are as vulnerable to the effects of the heat as Seattleites who are poor, thousands of whom live outside. Those who have dealt with chronic homelessness often have disabilities that become potentially deadly in extreme heat, and people in low-income housing or on fixed incomes faced a stark choice as the rest of the city scrambled for fans and air-conditioning units: pay potentially hundreds of dollars from meager checks to get air-conditioning units, or preserve money for other necessities and tough out the days to come.
As residents seek heat relief at lakes, 2 deaths reported
Two people died Sunday at King County lakes as sweltering residents flocked to beaches in search of a respite from a record heat wave.
One man died after being pulled from Lake Washington in Kirkland on Sunday morning, according to fire officials. A second man drowned at Angle Lake in SeaTac, according to a sheriff’s spokesman.
Every summer, people die in local lakes and rivers as temperatures rise. The deceptively cold waters can shock even experienced swimmers and lead to drownings, especially for those not wearing life jackets.
Amazon Meeting Center will open Monday as a cooling center
The Amazon Meeting Center at 2031 Seventh Avenue in Seattle has been added to list of cooling centers available Monday, the City of Seattle announced.
The location has capacity for 1,000 people and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Complimentary parking is available in the Doppler garage (entrance located at 2020 Sixth Avenue).
Masks are required and attendees must provide ID upon entrance. Pets are not allowed, except for service animals.
Seattle hits 104 degrees, breaking all-time record
It’s official: Sunday was the hottest day ever recorded in Seattle.
The scorching milestone was set at 5:29 p.m., when the temperature hit 104 degrees, the highest on record dating back to 1945, according to the National Weather Service.
The temperature had tied the previous record of 103 earlier Sunday afternoon, as an atmospheric “heat dome” baked the Pacific Northwest with an unprecedented stretch of triple-digit thermometer readings. It never got cooler than 73 degrees — a record-high minimum temperature, according to the NWS.
Sunday’s record could be short-lived, as Monday’s forecast is calling for temperatures of around 110 degrees.
Canada sets all-time heat record
The village of Lytton in the interior of southern British Columbia sizzled under a new all-time high temperature for Canada on Sunday, reaching 46.1 degrees Celsius, or just under 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reading by Environment Canada in Lytton surpassed the previous national high of 45 C (113 F), which was set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
As the U.S. Pacific Northwest sweltered to the south, a heat warning also was in effect for most of western Canada, and the weather agency said numerous daily temperature records had been broken across British Columbia.
Seattle ties record high of 103
So far, the highest recorded temperature on Sunday in Seattle happened at 2:35 p.m. — coming in at a whopping 103 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Today's highest heat ties it with the all-time record high temperature ever recorded in Seattle since 1945.
Seattle was forecast to top out at 104 today, which would break the current 103 record.
By 5:30 p.m., National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Michalski said the current temperatures were hovering from 101 to 102.
"It’s getting late in the day, so it would take a wind shift to get us to warm back up," he said.
The wind patterns have shifted to a west and northwest direction, Michalski said. If the winds flip again, it could warm up slightly.
But for now, the official high remains at 103.
Tomorrow's forecast is calling for temperatures to near 110 degrees, which would set a new record high.
Heat helps the business of new ice cream vendor in Beacon Hill
Seattleites sat under the shade of a pine and maple tree near a bus stop in the Beacon Hill area Sunday afternoon.
Some left the safety of the shade to buy ice cream from a vendor across the street in the corner of La Esperanza supermarket.
“Is the ice cream any good?” A man wearing a straw hat asked in Spanish while he counted out five $1 bills to pay for the handmade vanilla ice cream.
“Of course!” street vendor Misael Garcia said.
Today's heat has brought Garcia, who began selling ice cream about a month ago, a surge in business.
Garcia managed to sell out of the artisanal vanilla ice cream and tamarindo slushie drink around 3 p.m. — a few hours earlier than usual, Garcia said.
Public Health mobile vaccination team suspends operations for Monday
Public Health - Seattle & King County announced Sunday that it will suspend its mobile vaccination team Monday due to the heat.
A decision has yet to be made on whether the team will go out on Tuesday, Public Health spokesperson James Apa said Sunday, but a determination will be made by Monday.
Previous heat records shatter across Washington on Sunday
The current heat dome stretching across the Pacific Northwest is shattering National Weather Service records at a rapid rate.
Seattle hit two consecutive 100-degree days, the first time in record history, by around 2:30 p.m.
To the west, Port Angeles reached 95 around the same time, which makes three consecutive days of 95 or higher for the Olympic Peninsula port town.
Bellingham blew past its daily heat record before noon. It was 90 degrees by 11 a.m. The previous record was 87 in 2015.
In Portland, the National Weather Service reported 110 at Portland International Airport at 2:03 p.m., the hottest temperature recorded at the airport since historical records began in 1940.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, temperatures reached 94 at 10:26 a.m., breaking the daily record of 92 set in 2015.
And even in the mountains, it's hard to escape the heat. At Stampede Pass in the Cascades, the temperature hit 92 just a little past 1 p.m. That's the second-hottest temperature on record.
Rainier Beach Community Center Pool closes
Due to unsafe pool deck temperatures, Rainier Beach Community Center Pool was forced to close Sunday afternoon. It will remain closed Monday, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation.
The Rainier Beach Community Center cooling center will remain open until 8 p.m. tonight.
When temperatures crest into the triple digits, pavement temperatures can approach 170 or higher, according to the National Weather Service.
"Swimmers will burn their feet on the pool decks," said the Parks department on Twitter Sunday.
Life guards will be redeployed to other beaches, according to the city.
Amazon warehouses in Kent remain in operation, despite lack of climate control
Some businesses took steps to keep workers cool as the mercury climbed.
At one warehouse in Amazon’s complex in Kent, workers on Sunday were handed iced neck scarves and drinking water. The facility is normally cooled by giant rotating ceiling fans. This weekend, Amazon added “massive” fans on the floor, said a worker on duty at the facility Sunday.
The worker, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said he had been worried about the heat at the warehouse, which is usually only about ten degrees cooler than outside. But he was pleased with the steps Amazon, the state’s largest employer, took to beat the heat.
“If this is how it will be all summer, it will be just fine,” he said.
Heat precautions were less evident at another of Amazon’s Kent facilities, where interior temperatures neared 90 degrees by midday, a second worker estimated. Not every workstation had functioning fans, that worker said. And some departments were running “power hours,” in which workers are asked to move as quickly as they can for an hour to boost productivity.
“I was sweating immediately,” said the second worker. “I’m really surprised at how ill-prepared they are, given we have known it would be this hot for a little bit now.” Some workers went home early because they couldn’t stand the heat, the worker said.
An Amazon spokesperson said in an email that the company had installed climate control at its Kent warehouses "many years ago," but declined to specify what those systems consisted of, or why some workers said temperatures inside the building were still too hot Sunday.
"We have systems in place that constantly measure the temperature in the building and the safety team monitors temperature on every floor individually," said spokesperson Maria Boschetti. "We're also making sure that everyone has easy access to water and can take time off if they choose to, though we're finding that many people prefer to be in our buildings because of the A/C."
Boschetti did not respond to questions about the power hours, or to a request for a readout of temperatures inside Amazon's Kent warehouse during the heat wave.
Amazon also notified delivery contractors nationwide to give drivers extra break time due to the heat, according to images of an email Amazon sent to delivery contractors seen by the Seattle Times.
At least one Amazon contractor, in Oregon, went even further, telling workers that if they could deliver just five packages Sunday before returning to the dispatch station, they could head home and be paid for four hours of work, according to screenshots shared on social media. (Typically, drivers deliver between 200 and 400 packages a day.)
This card has been updated with a statement from an Amazon spokesperson.
Seattle sets new temperature record
By early afternoon Sunday, 2:36 p.m. to be exact, Sea-Tac hit 101 degrees. As the temperature gauge slid past 100 for a second day in a row, another new climate record was set.
That's now the first time in our climate record for Seattle to hit 100 degrees two consecutive days, according to the National Weather Service.
To make this determination, the National Weather Service is comparing heat records that date back to 1894.
Kent residents seek refuge at ice skating rink
At Kent Valley Ice Centre, an indoor skating rink, “It’s 60 degrees every day of the year,” said owner Lexi Doner.
The city designated the rink an emergency shelter location Friday. Several groups of people seeking refuge from the heat were gathered on the bleachers Sunday afternoon, while teens practiced hockey on the ice.
The weather outside “feels like Malaysia, or Kansas,” said Nikki Brummett, naming the places she grew up and lived before moving to Kent.
She and her husband Aaron, who was also sheltering at the ice rink, have a window air conditioning unit, she said, but it only got the temperature in their apartment down to 80 degrees this morning.
Yesterday, Aaron said, he filled a kiddie pool with ice and sat in it in front of the air conditioner; today, they decided to try the ice rink. They’ll spend tomorrow at the ice rink, too, Nikki said, adding she feels lucky that she’s not scheduled to work tomorrow or Tuesday at the Amazon warehouse up the road.
Saturday, she said, she decided to take a vacation day instead of going to work, where she predicted it would be too hot.
The couple considered booking an air conditioned hotel room, but when Aaron called around yesterday, he couldn’t find a room — most places nearby were already booked, he said.
If you’re homeless in Seattle, here are places to escape the heat
People living outside or in their vehicles in Seattle can stay cool and avoid possible heat-related illness at one of a half-dozen locations around the city open this weekend.
The city opened an emergency 24-hour cooling shelter at Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, on Saturday. It will remain open until Tuesday morning. The shelter can hold up to 73 people and will be run by the Salvation Army. Meals will be provided by Operation Sack Lunch.
In addition to several Seattle public library locations, pools and community centers that will be open to the public this weekend, here’s an assembly of nonprofit and public day centers for homeless people that are open Sunday:
- Seattle Indian Center’s drop-in location, 1265 South Main Street suite 105, will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
- The Salvation Army’s Jefferson Day Center, 4th Avenue and Jefferson Street, will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
- Lake City Community Center will serve as a day center for people experiencing homelessness. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
- A 24-hour cooling center will remain open until 10 a.m. Wednesday. The cooling center, located at 206 Southwest 112th Street in White Center, will operate 24/7, but people can only come and go between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. There will be around 20 beds available for adults and families who need to stay overnight.
Light rail could be delayed due to the heat
There's a chance that today's scorching temperatures could delay Link light rail trains, according to Sound Transit.
Trains could be forced to reduce their speeds due to heat on the tracks, according to a Sunday news release. These slower travel speeds could lead to unexpected delays all day Sunday as well as Monday and into early next week as the region faces an extreme heat wave.
Normal operating speeds will resume when the weather cools. Sound Transit advises passengers to stay hydrated while traveling and prepare for extra travel time.
How are your four-legged friends staying cool this weekend?
As we hunker down to survive a second day of startling high temperatures for the region, Seattle Times readers are sending in real-time coverage of how their furry friends are attempting to stay cool.
Some are styling in the pool.
While others are making friends with a fan.
And some just want the cool air for themselves.
Even cold baths seem suddenly appealing.
If you're looking for ideas to help your pets stay here, check out these handy tips. And if all else fails, find some ice.
Creative heat hack spotted on Rainier Avenue
The heat made heavy work heavier for some. “I think I just lost 30 pounds!” said a sweating Art Rodgers, disembarking from a cargo tricycle he was pedaling down 36th Avenue South late Sunday morning.
Working in a baking-hot makeshift fabrication facility made of two shipping containers parked near the Rainier Avenue Darigold Warehouse, Rodgers and business partner Donald Foster were retrofitting the trike into a stage-on-wheels by welding a platform and television screens onto the rear.
Foster, though, has developed an inventive way to stay cool: A portable air conditioner that funnels cold air directly into a HazMat suit. “I’m definitely going to use it this weekend,” Foster said.
Around the corner, on Rainier Avenue South, Associate Minister Michael Aaron sat on his guitar case, waiting for someone to unlock the door to the Rose of Sharon Pentecostal Church. As the temperature climbed above 90 degrees, Aaron began sweating through his Sunday best: A rose-colored suit, wingtips, and a straw hat.
But he said he wasn’t fazed: “I’ve worked in landscaping. I’m used to it.”
Seattle Public Library will open additional branches Sunday
The Seattle Public Library will open additional library branches from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to provide additional cooling centers during what is expected to be the worst of the heat wave currently impacting the Pacific Northwest.
Here are the five new locations opening at noon Sunday:
- Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave NW
- Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way SW
- Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E Yesler Way
- Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave. N.E.
- South Park Branch, 8604 8th Ave S
Due to unexpected maintenance work, the Broadview branch will be closed to today.
Click here for a full guide of places you can go this weekend to stay cool in the Puget Sound.
Expect record high temperatures today
Several parts of Western Washington are expected to exceed their hottest all-time record high today, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.
Seattle is expected to top out at 104 degrees today, surpassing the previous record held at 103 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. By 7:30 a.m., the Emerald City was already at 79 degrees.
Today's lowest temperature, set at 73 degrees this morning, will break Seattle's all-time record for max low temperature. The previous record was set at 72 degrees on June 29, 2009.
Temperatures are expected to tip over the 110 degree mark Monday.
Washington's capital city, Olympia, will be slightly hotter today with a high of 107 degrees. Bellingham is forecasted to hit 97 degrees.
Seward Park in South Seattle sees early start of crowds
At Seward Park in south Seattle, parking lots were full and spilling over into side streets by 9 a.m., by which time the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s University of Washington station was charting 84-degree heat. Dozens of pleasure boats studded the Andrews Bay anchorage on the west side of the Seward Park peninsula.
Park-goers were readying to keep themselves and their loved ones cool as the temperature continued to rise.
Near the Seward Park Clay Studio, Lana Makhanik was throwing a ball for her German shepherd-husky mix, Bandit, to chase into the water and feeling grateful that the dog had recently discovered a love for swimming.
“It’s a godsend. I don’t know how else I’d keep this dog cool,” she said.
In pursuit of his ball, Bandit wended his way through the gathering water traffic of paddleboarders, free swimmers and children on float toys.
On the opposite side of the park, Martha Aby was setting up a Coleman sun shelter with her husband and two-year-old daughter. Their Judkins Park home has two rooms with air conditioning, she said, but her daughter had a hard time getting to sleep the previous night. The family plans to “be in the water as much as possible” before naptime Sunday.
Spokanites, and tourists, find refuge from the ‘unprecedented’ heat at city’s free cooling centers
SPOKANE —Tina Gard and Ron Anderson have not seen each other since they graduated high school — in 1984.
The two reconnected on Facebook a few years ago, and it didn't take long for them to start hoping for a post-pandemic vacation to see each other. They decided to meet in Spokane.
It was in the newly opened cooling center of Riverfront Park on Saturday afternoon that the two old friends found themselves living that vacation they talked about months before.
As guests at the Montvale downtown, they planned to spend the rest of their vacation spontaneously, in spite of the heat wave sweeping through the Pacific Northwest.
“We’re looking for adventures,” Gard said. “This whole trip was so spontaneous.”
The City of Spokane set the cooling center up in one of the Looff Carrousel multipurpose rooms. The center opened 11 a.m. Saturday, with disposable masks, water and air conditioning all provided by the city .
Andrew Wellis, park ranger supervisor at Riverfront Park, supervised the cooling center as it opened.
Though it was not a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, Wellis said he expected more people to come through as the late afternoon sun warmed the park.
“This week was kind of unprecedented with the heat,” Wellis said.
Brian Coddington, City of Spokane director of communications, said the cooling centers will stay open as long as the days exceed 100 degrees.
Blistering high of 117 in revised Tri-Cities forecast. How to stay safe
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.
Scorching weather made Saturday the second hottest day in Seattle on record
Saturday was a history-making scorcher for Seattle.
The National Weather Service reported the temperature peaked at 102 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport about 4 p.m. That broke the previous June record of 96 degrees in 2017, and came one degree shy of the hottest day ever registered at the airport, in July 2009.
The average high there for June 26 is a sweet, not sweaty 73 degrees, the weather service said.
Some other Puget Sound locations were just as hot or hotter Saturday, with 100-plus reported in Issaquah, Spanaway, Bellevue, Carnation and Maltby. The heat wave is expected to crest Sunday and Monday, meteorologist Maddie Kristell with the weather service said.
“Monday clocks in a bit hotter,” she said, describing the blazing weekend as somewhat unprecedented. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but anywhere from 108 to 110 degrees is not out of the question … It’s difficult to pin an event down like this, when we don’t have a previous event to compare it to.”
Even as the city sizzled, government services remained stable, per Seattle’s emergency operations center. There had been no major surges in electricity use, water use or 911 calls, a spokesperson said Saturday afternoon.
Most Read Local Stories
- Seattle-area residents should prepare for wild weather ahead, forecasters say
- Big gap between Pfizer, Moderna vaccines seen for preventing COVID hospitalizations
- King County customers of restaurants, theaters, gyms must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test
- COVID-19 kills Moses Lake couple, orphans their 8-year-old after visit to the fair
- Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book