Seattle, Oregon break records as heat wave sparks major safety concerns

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The Pacific Northwest reached triple-digit temperatures Monday, setting record highs amid a days-long heatwave, according to the National Weather Service. 

A new record was set at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when temperatures reached 106 degrees, which broke the 104-degree mark that was set on Sunday. It was the hottest temperature recorded in the city since at least 1945, the Seattle Times reported. 

Monday’s heat marks the third consecutive day of 100-plus degrees. Two weather stations in Washington state – Dallesport and the Sol Duc River – reached 188 degrees, the NWS said. The readings were preliminary and had not yet been certified. Relief is expected Wednesday when temperatures are expected to dip to the 80s in Seattle.

The temperatures were unheard of in a region better known for rain, and where June has historically been referred to as “Juneuary” for its cool drizzle. Seattle’s average high temperature in June is around 70 degrees, and fewer than half of the city’s residents have air conditioning, according to U.S. Census data.

The heat forced schools and businesses to close to protect workers and guests, including some places like outdoor pools and ice cream shops where people seek relief from the heat. COVID-19 testing sites and mobile vaccination units were out of service as well.

People walk as the sun shines behind the Space Needle, Monday in Seattle. Seattle and other cities broke all-time heat records over the weekend, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Seattle Parks Department closed one indoor community pool after the air inside became too hot — leaving Stanlie James, who relocated from Arizona three weeks ago, to search for somewhere else to cool off. She doesn’t have AC at her condo, she said.

“Part of the reason I moved here was not only to be near my daughter, but also to come in the summer to have relief from Arizona heat,” James said. “And I seem to have brought it with me. So I’m not real thrilled.”

In Eugene, the U.S. track and field trials were halted Sunday afternoon and fans were asked to evacuate the stadium due to extreme heat. The National Weather Service said it hit 110 degrees Eugene, breaking the all-time record of 108 degrees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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