Dangerous heat baked the Pacific Northwest this week. Temperatures have been soaring above 100 degrees inland, and even the coast felt temperatures in the upper 90s in an area not used to feeling the heat. The end is near though.
National Weather Service has trimmed back the number of people under Extreme Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories.
"Temperatures will trend cooler today but expect lingering heat for inland valleys west of the Cascades," stated the Medford, Oregon NWS office in the forecast discussion.
Heat wave breaking down
Strong high pressure that anchored the heat dome over the northwest corner of the country is breaking down. Finally, on Friday and Saturday, highs and lows will return to average and give everyone a break
Portland is not forecast to hit triple-digits again on Thursday. That means it will not tie its record stretch of the number of days over 100 degrees this week. In July 1941, the city saw triple-digit heat for five days in a row. Portland's average high is normally 83. The mercury will only hit 94 Thursday down from Monday when the city tied its all-time record high of 108.
The NWS issued Excessive Heat Watches, Warnings and Heat Advisories for the area through Thursday.
Nowhere to hide from the heat
Many homes in the Pacific Northwest don't have air conditioning, as the average high in Spokane is usually in the low 80s. Seattle's average high is in the low 70s for August. Even Seattle's water temperature of around 52 degrees can only temper the heat so much.
"For those without air conditioning, living spaces can become deadly during the afternoon and evening," the NWS said.
2021 Deadly heat wave in Northwest
In June 2021, an extreme heat wave killed more than 1,000 across the Northwest, estimated by government agencies. During that event, Washington recorded its highest all-time record temperature of 120 degrees.
"Heat is the number one killer in terms of weather-related fatalities," Noboru Nakamura, a professor of atmospheric and environmental fluid dynamics at the University of Chicago and author of a study about the event, said. "When massive heat waves hit an area that's normally cool, that's when the death toll tends to rise."
The study suggests that clouds were responsible for 2021's deadly heat wave.
Another stubborn heat wave has been setting record heat across the South.