Authorities believe that a blistering heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest earlier this week has contributed to at least seven deaths.
Seven people are suspected of having died from hyperthermia since the record temperatures began a week ago.
Clackamas County officials announced the most recent suspected heat-related death on Saturday.
This most recent death was of an older man who passed away at home, where there was no functioning air conditioner.
The six other suspected hyperthermia fatalities happened earlier this week in the counties of Multnomah, Umatilla, and Marion.
Temperatures have neared the triple digits the entire week, hitting a high of 102 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.
And the temperatures remain abnormally high at night.
Overnight temperatures only cool off to about 70 degrees, making it harder for residents to reduce the temperatures in their homes before the sun rises.
Multnomah County, the city of Portland, and other organizations will keep overnight cooling centers open through Sunday night, according to Jessica Mokert-Shibley, a county spokesperson.
On Friday night, almost 250 individuals made use of the shelters.
Many of the people living west of the Cascades Mountains do not have air conditioning and are not well suited to hot weather.
The heat wave, which is predicted to go into the weekend, serves as a warning of the dangers of high temperatures that the Pacific Northwest’s residents are facing.
2021 Heat Dome
The current heat wave, while still destructive, remains less significant than the heat dome last year, which stunned the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.
Temperatures in some places soared five degrees or more past all-time highs, breaking countless heat records.
Seattle temperatures crested at 108 degrees, and Portland hit 116.
Hundreds of people died as a result.
Heat Warning Through Sunday
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Portland and Seattle, Washington, regions lasting through late Sunday evening.
Temperatures in these areas are expected to reach as high as 103 degrees.
Shawn Weagle, an NWS meteorologist, based in Portland, said that the region had likely tied its record for its longest heat wave with a daily record of six consecutive days topping 95 degrees.
The current heat wave could break that record on Sunday, Weagle said.
People in the PNW should drink plenty of water, find shade, do what they can to stay cool and check on each other, especially older people and those at greater risk of heat-related illnesses.
Impacts of Climate Change and Challenges of Heat Waves
The impacts of climate change are fueling these deadly heat waves in the Pacific Northwest. Weeklong heat spells were historically rare in this area, according to climate experts.
Residents and officials in the Northwest have to adjust to the reality of longer, hotter heat waves due to the climate crisis.
This doesn’t seem like a hot spell that will disappear.
The heat and dry weather has also contributed to California’s McKinney Fire near the Oregon border, which has become the state’s biggest fire in 2022.
Forecasters expect the heat to weaken soon as a storm brings cooler air.
Residents can expect the area to return to more normal temperatures by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Contact The Shunnarah Trial Attorneys For Your Legal Needs
Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys reaches out with sympathy for those who have lost a loved one due to the extreme heat in Pacific Northwest and those struggling in that area. Our attorneys understand the impact of losing a loved one.