The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) warned that extreme heat will hit the U.S. Pacific Northwest later this week, with temperatures likely to exceed 37 degrees Celsius, a high temperature that has only occurred twice in history. Many residents in the region lack air conditioning.
The National Weather Service Weather Forecast Center described the impending heat wave as “record-breaking and dangerous” on Wednesday (June 23). The heat wave is expected to affect most of Washington and Oregon, as well as northwestern Idaho and northern California.
The National Weather Service said temperatures at more than 80 locations are expected to set daily record highs by the end of the week, and the monthly average record for June is likely to be broken at some locations in the Pacific Northwest.
The National Weather Service said lots in Washington and Oregon face a high risk of excessive heat Saturday and Sunday. The National Weather Service warned that some people are at risk of heat-related illnesses and expressed concern for residents without adequate air conditioning.
Temperatures in the area are usually mild, and there is a particular lack of equipment to deal with the extreme heat. Citing census data, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle, Washington, is the least air-conditioned city in the United States, with only about one-third of homes having cooling systems. Portland, Oregon, south of Seattle, is the third-lowest air-conditioned city in the United States.
The National Weather Service forecasts that the heat wave will continue into next week. According to the Washington Post, more than 55 percent of the western United States is currently experiencing extreme or rare drought.