The hottest weather of the year thus far is underway. Some may want to ‘bring it on’ by playing the 2011 song by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Heatwave. Temperatures in the North Sound region have already topped 90 degrees inland from the coastlines with the highest readings in the Cascade foothills like Darrington, Monroe, and Sultan. And now this hot weather pattern looks like it will extend through the rest of this week. The last time there was an unusually long heat wave of five days like this was in early August of 1981.

The latter part of July historically is the hottest time of year and this heat wave is right on schedule. For instance in 2009, that heat wave resulted in the previous Everett – Paine Field all-time record high of 100 degrees, that was tied again during last year’s late June ‘heat dome’. Consider Jerry Mungo’s 1970 hit, Hot Time in the Summertime.

Much of the rest of the country has been baking recently thanks to strong high pressure aloft. Yet, our region’s source for this heat wave is the result of high pressure aloft that arose off the coast and has limited the pleasant low level onshore flow of cooler Pacific Ocean air experienced during the past week or so.

This weather pattern is also producing quite warm minimum temperatures – in the 60s, well above the Puget Sound region’s seasonal average in the 50s. So, some may be playing the Miami Sound Machine’s Hot Summer Nights.

During a heat wave, the hazard is not always just the heat of the day, but the accumulation by the heat of the night. National Weather Service interactive Heat Risk charts are a useful tool, providing everyone with a sense of their heat risk where they live.

During this hot weather, try to stay cool so your body can release the stress of the heat. Many homes do not have air conditioning, so use places that do have A/C like malls, theaters, cooling centers and libraries for at least a few hours per day, and take the kids too! Outside, find shade and avoid strenuous exercise or activities, especially during the hottest time of day. In addition, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol. If enjoying area waterways to stay cool, wear a life jacket since area waters are still cold, 60 degrees or under.

Another cooler option is to visit Puget Sound shorelines. Temperatures there will be much cooler – in the 70s and 80s, such as Whidbey Island, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Everett, Warm Beach, and Anacortes. Just be sure to wear sunscreen as well. And don’t forget your pets and livestock. They need cool shade and water as well.

This hot weather has elevated the wildfire danger. Avoid tossing burning materials from vehicles, ensure campfires are cold before leaving, and if towing a trailer, be sure the tow chain is tightened so it does not drag on the pavement creating sparks. Check with local authorities and fire districts regarding outdoor burning bans.

Eastern Washington is even hotter this week. Temperatures have already soared above 100 degrees with the some places like the Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Omak, and Walla Walla around 110. The wildfire danger there is also be quite high.

Over the weekend, the strong high pressure aloft driving this heat wave is expected to weaken and shift east. Those cooler Pacific Ocean winds should then begin to blow onshore, bringing some relief to the heat. While some people will be enjoying The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City this week, others are be urging to play Summer Breeze from Seals & Crofts, Summer Breeze.