Speed Reads

Heatwave

It's going to be very, very hot in the Pacific Northwest today

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Thursday and Friday along much of the West Coast, from Seattle down to central California.

Seattle seems to have gotten a reprieve from expected triple-digit temperatures on Thursday, thanks to sun-blocking smoke pouring down from forest fires in British Columbia.

For better and worse, Portland won't be so hazy, with temperatures expected to hit 107 degrees, matching the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city (three times: Aug. 8 and 10, 1981 and July 30, 1965). The mercury in Portland hit 103 on Wednesday, while nearby towns hit record highs, like McMinnville's 106 degrees. Temperatures of 107 may not seem outrageous to residents of the Southwest, but the Northwest wasn't built with such scorchers in mind — only a third of Seattle homes have air conditioning, for example, as CNN notes in the video below.

Heatwaves like this may become more common. By 2100, three-fourths of people on Earth may be hit with 20 or more days of deadly heat a year, up from 1 in 3 people currently, according to a recent article in the journal Nature Climate Change. So the Pacific Northwest may have to invest in A/C, someday. But for now, they at least have ample water. Peter Weber