Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Sprawling heat dome brings record-shattering temperatures to the Pacific Northwest

A stifling "heat dome" is parked over the Pacific Northwest, bringing unprecedented heat to at least 25 million in the United States, and more in Canada. Temperatures are forecast to hit an apex Sunday and Monday in many areas.

Why it matters: Extreme heat threatens lives, ranking as the nation's top weather-related killer annually. In addition, extreme heat events such as this one are a clear manifestation of human-caused climate change, with numerous studies linking such events to the long-term increase in global average temperatures.

  • Making the health threat more acute, this heat wave is a prolonged event with little overnight relief, as temperatures Sunday morning were near 80°F in Seattle and Portland.
  • The heat is also affecting areas where less than half of residents have air conditioning, including Seattle.

Driving the news: A highly unusual weather pattern is in place over the Pacific Northwest, with a record-strong high-pressure area aloft — known as a "heat dome" — sitting over Washington State and British Columbia, weakening little through Monday and sliding only slowly eastward.

  • This heat dome is yielding temperature departures from average of between 25°F to 45°F and above across multiple states and British Columbia.
  • This heat, combined with a worsening drought, is raising the risk of wildfires across multiple Western states.
  • It is also causing power demand to spike at a time when hydropower resources are lower than usual due to the drought conditions.

By the numbers: All of Oregon and Washington, plus portions of California, Idaho, Montana and Nevada, are under excessive heat watches and warnings.

  • Numerous monthly and all-time temperature records were set and tied on Saturday across the Northwest, and these won't last long, since they will be broken Sunday and Monday.
  • Portland, Ore., set an all-time high temperature record of 108°F on Saturday, beating the previous record of 107°F. The city is forecast to reach 112°F on Sunday and Monday.
  • In Seattle, Sunday is forecast to reach 104°F, which would be an all-time record for the city, breaking the old benchmark of 103°F. The temperature reached 101°F on Saturday afternoon, which set a record for the hottest June day, and was only the fourth 100-degree day in the city's history.
  • Monday looks even hotter in Seattle, an astonishing high of 111°F.
  • Canada is also seeing extreme heat, with the country's June high temperature record tied on Saturday. It's possible the country's all-time high temperature record of 113°F (45°C) will be equaled or eclipsed on Sunday or Monday.
  • Mountain areas were also extremely warm on Saturday, with all of Mount Rainier climbing above freezing. This means the snowpack, as well as area glaciers, are being affected. Warmer conditions are likely Sunday.

How it works: There are two main reasons the Pacific Northwest is so hot. The first is tied to the heat dome itself, which causes air to sink, or compress, warming as it does so. The second has to do with the location of the heat dome.

  • The feature is parked to the north-northeast of the region, at the same time as an upper level low pressure area lurks offshore.
  • Due to the clockwise flow of air around the high, easterly winds are blowing from high-to-low elevation areas in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
  • When air sinks, such as when it moves out of mountainous regions and into valleys, it compresses, increasing temperatures. These winds are why even coastal areas are so hot.

Context: Studies have shown that severe heat events such as this one are now on average about 3°F to 5°F hotter than they would without the many decades of emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning, deforestation and other human activities.

  • However, this may understate climate change's influence, since warming is also thought to be altering weather patterns in a way that makes strong heat domes more common and prolonged.
  • Some recent studies using techniques known as extreme event attribution have shown that certain extreme heat events could not have occurred without the added boost from human-caused warming.

Quick 🧵 on how to think about the impact of climate change on the current PNW heatwave (and all other heatwaves).

First, there's no question that climate change is making this heat wave worse. None. Zero. Nada.

— Andrew Dessler (@AndrewDessler) June 25, 2021

What they're saying: The NWS' Weather Prediction Center termed the heat "historic and dangerous" in an online forecast discussion on Sunday.

  • The National Weather Service forecast office in Seattle warned people to seek cooling shelters in order to beat the heat. "Please continue to take this forecast very seriously and continue to follow all calls to action," forecasters wrote.

What's next: The heat will be most prolonged in inland areas of Washington and Oregon. There, temperatures are forecast to soar to between 100°F and 115°F through midweek. Coastal areas from Oregon to Washington will experience some cooling starting Tuesday.

U.S. women's soccer team beats Australia, wins Olympic bronze

The U.S. women's soccer team won the bronze medal on Thursday after beating ninth-ranked Australia 4-3.

Why it matters: Thursday's victory marks the U.S. team's first bronze in Olympic history, handing the team a medal after it failed to earn one during the Rio Games in 2016.

Keep reading... Show less

Top Democratic operatives mapped out how to defend Kamala Harris at high-powered dinner

A group of the Democratic Party's most influential women met for dinner at a home in the nation’s capital last month to game out how to defend Vice President Kamala Harris and her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, against a torrent of bad press.

Why it matters: It's telling that so early in the Biden-Harris administration, such powerful operatives felt compelled to try to right the vice president's ship.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 13 highlights

Day 13 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw Team USA's men's basketball team beat Australia 97-78 on Thursday to advance to the gold medal game.

The big picture: Kevin Durant led the charge with 23 points to help the U.S. secure a final spot against either France or Slovenia on Saturday local time. Elsewhere, the U.S. added to its gold medals count, with shot putter Ryan Crouser and teenage canoeist Nevin Harrison both winning their events.

Keep reading... Show less

Judge to Capitol rioter: Insurrection is "not patriotism"

A federal judge sentencing a Michigan man in D.C. Wednesday over his role in the U.S. Capitol riot dismissed any notion that he's a political prisoner.

Driving the news: U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that she wasn't sentencing Karl Dresch, of Calumet, "because he is a supporter" of former President Trump, noting that "millions of people" had voted for him "and did not heed his call to descend on the nation's Capitol," per the Detroit News.

Keep reading... Show less

2 wildfires ravage Northern California homes as thousands evacuate

Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.

Details: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through the Greenville area of Plumas County Wednesday night, per AP. The rapidly spreading River Fire burned "multiple" homes as it tore through Placer and Nevada counties, KOVR notes. Mandatory evacuation orders were in effect for both fires.

Keep reading... Show less

Landlords mount legal challenge to Biden administration's new eviction moratorium

A group of landlords and real-estate companies issued a legal challenge on Wednesday night in a D.C. district court to the Biden administration's new national eviction moratorium.

Driving the news: The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors' emergency motion argues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order Tuesday barring evictions for most of the U.S. through Oct. 3 exceeds the CDC's powers, according to a statement from the National Association of Realtors.

Keep reading... Show less

Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

Alix Klineman and April Ross are guaranteed to earn at least an Olympic silver medal after defeating Germany 2-0 in the Tokyo Games on Thursday morning local time.

Of note: It's the latest chapter in an enduring partnership, driven by past failures and bound by future aspirations.

Keep reading... Show less

World surpasses 200 million COVID cases

The number of COVID-19 infections worldwide topped 200 million on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Why it matters: The milestone highlights the effect of the highly contagious Delta variant. It took about a year for the world to reach 100 million cases, and only six months to double that, the New York Times reported.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories