The Heat is On
The National Weather Service has issued heat warnings and advisories through Friday for parts of the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions, but the Pacific Northwest, especially, is bracing for a second round of dangerously hot temperatures this week. Portland is projected to top 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday and Friday and Seattle should hit the mid-90s; both cities "would break all-time records this week if the late June heat wave had not done so already," The Associated Press reports.
Portland and other Oregon cities have set up cooling stations and Gov. Kate Brown (D) has declared a state of emergency. Temperatures in the region typically top out in the 80s during the summer, and few people have air conditioning.
Oregon officially recorded 96 heat-related deaths from the June onslaught and Washington registered 95 deaths, but a new New York Times analysis of excess deaths suggests the real numbers were nearly 160 deaths in Oregon and 450 in Washington.
Climate scientists concluded that the June heat wave would not have possible without the influence of human-caused climate change, and a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week warned that more extreme weather events are now inevitable. But heat deaths are largely preventable, Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington, told the Times. "The more we understand about these deaths, the better we can prepare."