Western Heat Wave Breaks Record Highs in Oregon and Washington

Jonathan Belles
Published: August 4, 2017

A blistering heat wave will sear the Northwest into next week, setting daily record highs.

(LATEST NEWS: Northwest Heat Wave Bakes Seattle, Portland; Cooling Centers Opened, Pools Closed)

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings and heat advisories from parts of Washington and Oregon to portions of northern California.


Current Heat Alerts

Several daily record highs were set Thursday, Aug. 2, including: Medford, Oregon (109 degrees), The Dalles (108 degrees), Portland, Oregon (103 degrees), Eugene, Oregon (102 degrees), Olympia, Washington (96 degrees), Seattle (94 degrees), Santa Maria, California (88 degrees).

Smoke covering much of the region kept temperatures below all-time record levels. 

The 107-degree high in Salem, Oregon, Wednesday was only 1 degree shy of the all-time record high of 108 degrees, set most recently on Aug. 9, 1981. In addition, Quillayute, Washington, reached its second-hottest temperature on record Wednesday with a high of 98 degrees.

The peak of the heat wave will persist into Friday, with highs in the 100s commonplace from California's Central Valley and western Nevada into Oregon and much of Washington's lower elevations away from the immediate Pacific coast.

(MORE: Hottest Temperatures Recorded in All 50 States)


Forecast Highs

Some minor heat relief will slowly begin arriving west of the Cascades Friday into this weekend as a batch of slightly cooler temperatures reaches the Pacific coast. Temperatures will remain hot, however, right into next week with most areas 10-15 degrees above average.

A few communities in northern California, southwestern Oregon, south-central Washington and perhaps southwestern Idaho could hold on to highs over the century mark for one more day into Saturday. 

(MAPS: 10 Day U.S. Forecast Highs/Lows)

Daily record highs may be threatened in the Northwest into next week, but overall the chance for records will dwindle.

(MORE: Pacific Northwest Been the Country's Most Extreme Weather Region in 2017)

Why the Heat Wave?

Temperatures have climbed due to a large ridge of high pressure aloft in the West, pushing the jet stream well into northern British Columbia.

Near this expansive, bulging high, sinking air will minimize cloud cover and allow temperatures to soar to the record values detailed above.

(MORE: August Temperature Outlook)

A ridge of high pressure will bring summer heat for the early part of August in the West.

A Few Tips to Beat the Heat

  • Remember to stay hydrated even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to stay cool.
  • Take breaks if you must be outside, and find shade when you feel hot.
  • Always "look before you lock" your car to make sure you haven't left your kids or furry friends in the backseat.
  • Check up on your friends and neighbors that may be more susceptible to summer heat.

(MORE: 4 Things Extreme Heat Does to Your Body)

Recap: Record Highs This Week

Dozens of daily record highs were set Wednesday, Aug. 2, including: Portland, Oregon (103 degrees), Medford, Oregon (112 degrees), Salem, Oregon (107 degrees), Eugene, Oregon (102 degrees), Seattle (91 degrees), Quillayute, Washington (98 degrees) and Reno, Nevada (104 degrees).

Several daily record highs were set Tuesday, Aug. 1, including: Medford, Oregon (110 degrees), Montague, California (107 degrees), Reno, Nevada (103 degrees - tied), Salem, Oregon (101 degrees),  and Mt. Shasta City, California (100 degrees).

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Northwest Heat Wave


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