Searing heat in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast to continue through the week


And the heat isn’t limited to one region.

Nearly 40 million people are under heat alerts Wednesday in the Northwest and the South, including in Dallas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee. Parts of the Carolinas are also feeling the heat, reaching heat indices, or “feels like temperatures,” of 105 degrees and above.

While daytime record highs will not be set nearly as often in the Southeast, abnormally high minimum temperatures will be quite common, giving residents from Texas to the Carolinas little relief from highs in the 90s to 100s they will see through the rest of the week, the Weather Prediction Center said on its website.

Dangerous heat in store for Pacific Northwest

Portland and Seattle are under excessive heat warnings through the end of the week as searing temperatures look likely to set records.

Portland surpassed a daily record Tuesday, reaching a scorching 102 degrees — the first time the city had reached triple digits this year. Seattle also set a record, reaching 94 degrees. Other places in the state, including Olympia, Bellingham and Vancouver broke daily high temperature records as well.

The intense heat will stick around until at least the weekend, as Portland is forecast to flirt with triple digits through Saturday. It’s even hotter in portions of central Oregon and Washington, where some areas could feel as hot as 115 degrees.

“The hottest temperatures will be seen Thursday and Friday in the Columbia Basin and lower elevations where temperatures will soar to around 110 degrees, about 14 to 18 degrees above seasonable temperatures,” the National Weather Service office in Pendleton, Oregon, said.
Of 25 major metropolitan areas, Seattle and Portland take the first and third spots respectively for the highest number of residents without air conditioning, according to a US Census Bureau survey.
Only 44% of Seattle residents have air conditioning. And up to 79% of Portlanders have air conditioning. Studies show those least likely to have air conditioning are the people who endure the worst heat, especially within urban heat islands. According to experts, this includes historically underserved communities of color, the elderly, the homeless and low-income residents.

Since last year’s all-time record heat wave — when Portland reached 116 degrees on June 28 — Oregon has been preparing and supporting residents for dangerous heat events.

The Oregon Health Authority has ramped up distribution of air conditioning units to vulnerable Oregonians at risk of heat-related illness, a release from the agency says.

This past weekend, the health authority delivered 500 units and is receiving 3,000 more to distribute this summer.

“Climate change has made extreme heat events the rule, not the exception, during Oregon’s summer months,” said health authority Director Patrick Allen in the news release. “These air conditioning units are a necessary step for building resilience to this health threat, particularly for those most vulnerable to heat exhaustion, heatstroke and death.”

Oregon also adopted a new rule in May at the request of Gov. Kate Brown to protect workers from heat illness — including those that have jobs that require them to work outside. Workers must have access to shade when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees and must be provided with cool drinking water, among other things.

Washington’s largest energy utility, Puget Sound Energy, advised residents to run appliances — such as dishwashers, washing machines and dryers — at night to conserve energy. It also recommended cleaning your current air filter to maintain adequate air flow.

“If you’re turning on AC this week, check and see if the air filter is clogged with dust/debris. Swap out filters every 30-90 days to help air flow freely, so your AC unit doesn’t work overtime,” Puget Sound Energy said in a tweet.
Air-conditioned libraries and cooling centers are available in Seattle, and the city encourages residents to call 2-1-1 to find their nearest cooling center.
AlertSeattle recommends staying indoors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., shutting blinds or curtains to remain cool, wearing a life jacket if entering a river or lake, and checking in on loved ones throughout the day.

Portions of southern US under heat alerts … again

A customer stocks up on bottled water in a Sam's Club during a heatwave in Houston, Texas.

Portions of Texas could reach a heat index of 105 degrees Wednesday, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, is under an excessive heat warning until 8 p.m.

Dallas is just four days away from reaching the second-longest consecutive period without precipitation on record, all while it continues an 11-day streak of temperatures of 100 degrees and above.

A Dallas-area inferno damages 26 homes, with 9 a 'total loss'

Waco, Texas, is also having one of its driest years on record, placing second to the year 1925.

Tulsa will approach 106 degrees Wednesday night, with heat index values up to 112. But thunderstorms and rain chances enter the forecast Wednesday evening and continue into Thursday.

“A few storms may become strong to severe, with damaging winds being the main threat. A period of heavy rain may also accompany the stronger cells,” the National Weather Service office in Tulsa said.

Raleigh, North Carolina, is under a heat advisory through the evening. Hot temperatures combined with dew points of 70 degrees will increase humidity in the state, sending temperatures to feel like 105 degrees.

A marginal risk of severe thunderstorms in the late afternoon hours could provide relief for the Carolinas on Wednesday.

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson contributed to this story.

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