This week will involve the longest stretch of hot weather so far this year and raises several concerns.
Strong high pressure aloft is expected to build over the Pacific Northwest into the middle of this week before it shifts inland, permitting marine air from the Pacific ocean to cool temperatures by the weekend.
In the meantime, high temperatures will rise into the 90’s from the Cascade foothill region with 80’s across much of the North Sound area. High temperature records in the North Sound are in the upper 80’s to mid-90’s, with one exception. On August 16th in 2020, Everett Paine Field tied its all-time record high of 100 degrees, and Arlington soared to 103 degrees that day.
Cooler temperatures can be found along the shores of Puget Sound such as on Whidbey Island and in Anacortes with highs in the 70’s.
Hot daytime temperatures are not the only concern though. Nighttime temperatures will also be quite warm, only dropping into the 60’s. With many North Sound record maximum ‘low’ temperatures in the lower to mid-60s, some of those records may also be broken.
For those vulnerable to excessive heat like the elderly or those with heart conditions, it is not the heat of the day, but also the heat of the night that creates health challenges and additional stress on the human body. Finding cooler locations with air conditioning will be critical. In addition, avoid leaving children or pets in cars, even for only 5 or 10 minutes.
The heat will also heighten the threat of wildfires. Conditions are already quite dry. Everett Paine Field has received less than a half inch of rain since the summer solstice on June 21st, well ahead of last summer’s pace that turned out to the driest 4 months on record through mid-October.
With this heat, it will be critical to avoid fire starts likely tossing burning materials out of cars, ensuring campfires are cold when leaving, and avoid any outdoor burning. Any fire starts will likely grow rapidly and generate wildfire smoke, spoiling air quality.
Despite the warm summer, area waterways remain cold. Wearing a life jacket helps ensure cold water shock does not occur whether on area rivers, lakes, and particularly in Puget Sound. Yet, the beaches will offer some relief from the heat.
Again, a change in this year’s hottest stretch of weather before this weekend will offer a cooling reprieve from the heat with high temperatures back down into the 70’s.