While Monday brought the hottest day so far this year — with temperatures hitting 94 degrees in Seattle — the rest of the week should cool down slightly, according to the National Weather Service.
By 4 p.m., much of Western Washington — except the coasts — was in the 80s or 90s, according to weather service meteorologist Dana Felton. The Ohanapecosh area in the southeastern corner of Mount Rainier National Park was the hottest place in this half of the state, at 100 degrees.
The weather service is also warning about fire danger in the southeast interior of Western Washington, where low humidity and temperatures that could reach the low to mid-90s make dry vegetation ready to ignite, said weather service meteorologist Maddie Kristell.
Monday morning’s easterly wind will move on, Felton said, adding that by 4 p.m., spots on the coast, including Hoquiam and Forks, had already cooled to the low 70s. By Tuesday, we’ll feel the moderating influence of cooler marine air, which will lower temperatures by about 15 degrees, Felton said.
“It’s a short-lived heat burst,” Kristell said. “The onshore from the ocean will be coming in and will cool us back down to the 80-degree mark on Tuesday.”
Wednesday will warm up just a few degrees, Kristell said, but by Thursday, high temperatures are predicted return to the upper 70s and low 80s.
On Friday, the high is predicted to be in the mid to upper-70s, prefacing a mild weekend of highs in the mid-70s.
“I’m not sure how sunny it’s going to be,” Kristell said. “We have some systems coming in, and there will probably be cloud cover.”
In the past, the city of Seattle has opened cooling centers to the public for those who want to escape the heat. This year, however, many public facilities with air conditioning are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a city spokesperson said in an email to The Seattle Times.
“We recognize the public health threat posed by high heat events, and acknowledge that the relative threat of high heat and Covid-19 may shift over the course of the summer,” the statement said. “We are updating our operational plans should Public Health – Seattle & King County recommend that the benefits of establishing congregate cooling centers outweigh the health risks of Covid-19 based on the actual forecast and current case counts/health care system capacity.”
The city is now working to update air conditioning systems to better cool the Miller Community Center — which is serving as a social distance shelter — and is making the same improvements at Garfield Community Center, the statement said. Both spaces, however, are only open to the shelter residents and aren’t currently serving the general public.
In preparation for increasingly warm summers, King County and Seattle announced Monday they’re launching a heat-mapping project to identify which areas are “most likely to experience the harmful health effects of rising temperatures,” according to a joint statement from the county’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks and the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment.
The data, which will be recorded at three different times of day, will then be used to create an area map that’ll help local officials decide what actions to take to “prepare the region as climate change contributes to hotter summers,” according to the statement.
These heat mitigation strategies actions could include tree planting, community cooling centers and energy efficiency retrofits, the statement said.
“We know that our Black, Indigenous, and people of color neighbors are disproportionately burdened by climate change and extreme heat events,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in the statement. “As our communities speak up and demand that we better address systemic racism, we must prioritize projects that identify and address the inequitable burden placed on our communities of color.”