Blistering Heat Wave Threatens Seattle, Where Only a Third Have Air-Conditioning

Blistering Heat Wave Threatens Seattle, Where Only a Third Have Air-Conditioning

Much of the country is used to occasional 100-degree days. Seattle, which has had just three in the past 123 years, is not.

So unaccustomed is Seattle to scorching heat that, in 2015, only one-third of the housing units in its metropolitan area had air-conditioning.

That’s going to make this week dangerous.

The National Weather Service is predicting “widespread record highs” as a heat wave engulfs the Pacific Northwest. An excessive heat warning is in effect from 2 p.m. on Tuesday through 9 p.m. on Friday. Seattleites can expect temperatures in the mid-80s to lower 90s on Tuesday. Wednesday will be in the 90s. And that three-digit barrier: Thursday may break it, with highs potentially “near 104.”

In Portland, Ore., the second-largest city in the Pacific Northwest, highs of 104 to 107 are expected on Wednesday and Thursday, threatening the record of 107 degrees set in 1965. Friday, too, is expected to reach 100, which would make this week only the seventh time since 1940 that Portland has had three consecutive days of triple-digit heat. And with a forecast of 99 degrees on Tuesday, the city is flirting with a four-day streak, something that has happened only twice since 1940.

Farther south, Medford, Ore., with a high of 113 forecast for Wednesday, is likely to break 100 degrees for nine consecutive days. Sacramento can expect highs of 100 to 104 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; so can Reno, Nev. And pity the Washingtonians east of the Cascade Range, away from the cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean: Highs in Pasco and Yakima (107 on Friday) aren’t predicted to fall below 100 until Aug. 1.

One response to “Blistering Heat Wave Threatens Seattle, Where Only a Third Have Air-Conditioning

  1. Though this report doesn’t provide any context for these high temps, having lived in Seattle, there seldom is more than a week or two without rain for relief. August is a hot month for most of the northern hemisphere, and yes, these temps are high for Seattle. It is also true that few people have air conditioning, though many have central heating with the option of a fan in the summer. So every room has air circulating at least. This article doesn’t report on how many have swamp coolers either, though they don’t often work in areas of high humidity. Bu we did get by in the hot summers of Eastern Washington with only the swamp cooler.


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