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A Heatwave Is Sweeping Across the Pacific Northwest

2 minute read

Much of the Pacific Northwest is under heat advisory this weekend with temperatures expected to keep rising in a heatwave that isn’t normal for this time of year, just a short distance from the wildfires raging in western Canada.

The National Weather Service (NWS) placed Western Oregon, Washington area, and part of California under heat advisory Saturday afternoon, and it’s set to conclude late Sunday or Monday. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit. Temperature readings could possibly break records for this time of year, with the forecast being around 20 – 25 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

The absurd heat could fuel dozens of fires burning in Canada’s Alberta province, which is currently in a state of emergency. Close to 30,000 people have had to evacuate Alberta over the past week and a half.

The weather phenomenon causing the heatwave is known as a “heat dome,” occurring when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air and in turn, clear skies and high pressure traps heat in that area.

The Northwest region endured a dangerous heat dome in 2021, which led to the deaths of hundreds of people. The 2021 heat dome also impacted marine life, reduced crop yields, increased flooding, affected glacier melting, exacerbated wildfires and contributed to landslides, according to Nature, a scientific journal. Few heatwaves worldwide in the past century have been as extreme.

Rising temperatures and greater intensity of heatwaves are linked to climate change caused by human activity, prompting Northwesterners—who’ve traditionally lived in a temperate climate—to pursue climate adaptation strategies.

NWS recommends that people in affected areas stay hydrated, use air-conditioning and check in on relatives and neighbors. The agency also recommends avoiding the sun and manual labor if possible and not to leave children or pets in cars

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