Sustainability Environment

Pacific Northwest braces for ‘record-breaking’ heat wave

pacific northwest heat wave weekend triple digit heat dome high pressure
National Weather Service (NWS)

Story at a glance

  • States including Washington, Oregon and Idaho will experience record-breaking heat.
  • Experts say it is the result of a heat dome.
  • Heat-related deaths have spiked to become the most common weather-related fatality in the past 30 years.

States in the U.S. Pacific Northwest are bracing for a major heat wave that meteorologists are describing as “record-breaking.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an “Excessive Heat Warning” for Washington, Oregon and Idaho, as well as parts of Northern California.

Officials also note that heat was the leading cause of weather-related fatalities from 1991 to 2020.

Overnight temperatures are expected to remain in the 70s, with daytime temperatures reaching triple digits near 120 degrees.

“Residents are urged to stay in air-conditioned buildings, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, drink plenty of water, and check on family members/neighbors,” meteorologists write.

Cities like Portland, Ore., and Seattle and Spokane, Wash., will see record temperatures throughout the weekend until Sunday.

Local outlets write that a heat dome is behind these deadly temperatures. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that this phenomenon occurs when high-pressure atmospheric conditions cause areas of heat to be trapped under the high pressure, which creates a dome-like effect.