A newly formed heat dome is predicted to bring blistering temperatures across areas spanning the Pacific Northwest to the Rocky Mountains this week.
The National Weather Service has pointed to potential record-breaking highs and lows across states such as Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Montana, and Idaho. Daytime temperatures could skyrocket into the triple digits, while some nighttime temperatures might not dip below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Remarkably, interior Oregon might witness its hottest four-day stretch on record.
This prolonged heatwave, coupled with insufficient air conditioning in some places, is particularly worrisome, warns the Weather Service.
Adding to concerns is the heightened risk of wildfires, propelled by the trio of sweltering temperatures, decreased humidity, and gusty winds.
As the week rolls on, forecasters anticipate this intense heat to migrate southwards, culminating in a stifling heat index of around 110 degrees when combined with surging humidity levels.
Alarmingly, extreme heat isn’t a novel danger. Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports over 600 heat-induced deaths in the U.S. The previous year witnessed Canada tallying 619 heat-related casualties due to a similar heat dome in the Pacific Northwest.
CNN recently reported that extreme heat has been the cause of death for at least 147 U.S. residents in 2023, a number poised to rise. This statistic, sourced from merely five counties, doesn’t include the 312 potential heat-related deaths currently under investigation in Arizona’s Maricopa County.
With climate change elevating average temperatures, experts predict that these intense heatwaves will only become more frequent, fiercer, and prolonged – a disheartening trajectory if greenhouse emissions remain unchecked.