Summer has arrived with a blow torch. High temperatures this weekend will likely break a lot of records in the North Sound, some going back a century or more.
At this point, Sunday looks to be the hottest day, but Saturday and Monday will not be much cooler. High temperatures will range from the 80s near Puget Sound to the 90s inland with some locations closer to the Cascade foothills potentially cracking the century mark. It has never been this hot so early in summer in recorded history.
What To Do
This heat wave will require all hands on deck regarding heat safety. Heat is a silent killer and ranks number one for weather related deaths. The most vulnerable are the elderly, infants and those with respiratory or heart ailments. If you have elderly, family, friends, and neighbors, check on them. Heat creates additional stress on the human body. Given that only about 15 to 20 percent of homes have air conditioning, that stress includes those warm, sleepless nights. And do not forget your pets. They have fur, which will will make them even warmer and vulnerable, so include them in your remedies, making sure they have fresh cool water and lots of it.
Seek cooler air conditioned facilities for at least two hours to help relieve heat stress. Places like malls, libraries, theaters and buildings with AC will help. Close your window shades and curtains.
If you are outdoors, seek shade and avoid strenuous activities particularly during the heat of the day. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and dress for summer with lightweight, loose fitting, light colored clothing. A fun option is shady spot outside with an old fashioned sprinkler. The water is cool and will help bring down body and ground heat. Should you feel light-headed, this can be a sign of heat stroke. Heat stroke can be deadly, especially for vulnerable populations. The answer is ice and fluids. Place ice packs (these can be baggies filled with ice), behind you neck and yes, under your armpits.
Area waterways are still cold – less than 60 degrees particularly just a few feet below the surface. Always wear a life jacket around our waterways. There have been far too many cold water shock events in just the past few weeks. Being overheated and jumping in can take your breath away, which is the cause of many drowning deaths, even among good swimmers.
The sun angle is the highest of year right now and ultraviolet radiation is as high as it gets this time of year. Wear a high SPF sunscreen and avoid getting burned since your body cannot cool down well if sunburned.
In vehicles, avoid leaving kids and pets in the car. 90 degree heat can turn to over 125 degrees in just 15 minutes inside a car, even with the windows open. Beat the heat, check the back seat.
Heat stress is when the human body’s ability to cool down begins to fail. Heat stress symptoms include excessive sweating, a fast weak pulse, nausea, muscle cramps, feeling tired or weak, dizziness and headache. If you or witness anyone suffering these symptoms, take action now.
Get out of the sun and into a cooler place. Drink water and rest. Take a cool bath or shower. Ice packs help, even in bed. If symptoms do not ease, call 911.
Heat stress also builds up over time if there is no relief. This heat wave looks to be three days in length. Heat stress is not just the heat of the day, but also the heat of night. Low temperatures will struggle to fall below 60 degrees, so it is important to find some cooling relief in an air conditioned environment each day. Use of ice packs in bed or pillows can help with sleep as well.
Heightened Wildfire Threat
This hot dry spell will dry out finer fuels like grasses and shrubs in a hurry, making them more vulnerable to burn. Ensure all fire sources are properly addressed. There is a burn ban in most counties, please check with local authorities, and make sure vehicle tow chains are tight and not dragging on the pavement, which can spark a fire. All burning materials should remain inside vehicles.
When It Will Cool Down
This heat wave looks to end on Tuesday as nature’s air conditioning from the Pacific Ocean kicks in spreading cooler marine air onshore into the North Sound. High temperatures on Tuesday should drop into the 70s and 80s.
Summer is just getting started. There may be more heat like this weekend’s coming later in the season. Stay cool!