Sun will (briefly) warm the area




Since national weather news reporters are rightly utilizing adjectives such as “withering,” “excessive” and “searing,” we here at The Columbian don’t want to overstate how warm it will be here this weekend.

So we’ll just say it in plain terms: That bright orange ball in the sky, often referred to as “the sun,” will make an appearance and stick around for the weekend.

Temperatures will reach the mid- to upper 80s today and Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The forecast for today includes plenty of sunshine, clear skies and a light northwest wind. The daytime high is expected to be 86 degrees, with an overnight low in the upper 50s, said Andy Bryant, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Portland.

Sunday’s forecast is similar: sunny, cloudless skies with a high of 87 degrees, Bryant said.

This weekend will be only the seventh and eighth days this year that temperatures climb above 80 degrees, he said. Vancouver has yet to see a 90-degree day.

“We still have a ways to go,” Bryant said. “We still have at least six to eight weeks where that’s a possibility, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon.”

After the warm weekend, high temperatures will drop to the low- to mid-70s through the next week.

Clark County residents can expect cloudy skies with sun breaks for most of the week. There’s also a slight chance of rain Tuesday, Bryant said.

“Relatively pleasant weather, just not summer heat,” he said.

While the Pacific Northwest experiences “pleasant weather,” much of the country endures temperatures in the 90s and 100s.

The huge ridge of high pressure over the Midwest explains both the “strikingly unusual” weather in the Northwest and scorching temperatures elsewhere, Bryant said. Typically, the ridge would be spread out over the entire western U.S., he said.

Instead, the Clark County area has been, on average, 2 degrees cooler than a typical July. Usually, daytime highs for this time of year would be about 80 degrees, Bryant said.

“A lot of people are wishing it was warmer here,” he said. “At the same time, I think a lot of folks would rather have what we’re having than day after day of extreme heat.”

Firefighters competing in today’s Fire in the Park event at Esther Short Park are taking the heat in stride.

“It’s really no different than what the guys would be exposed to at a structure fire today,” said Matt Thierfelder, Vancouver fire captain and event director.

Today’s weather in the mid-80s is welcome after last year’s scorcher. In 2010, temperatures were in the mid- to high-90s.

Still, event organizers are taking precautions.

American Medical Response will have a staffed ambulance at the park in case of an emergency. Clark County Fire District 6 will staff a rehab bus where firefighters can sit in the shade and be misted with water to cool down after competing, Thierfelder said.

Organizers hope the blue skies will bring thousands to the event, which benefits Share.

“I think people are ready to get out and come down to the farmers market, come to Esther Short Park,” Thierfelder said. “This is a free family event.”

Other people especially pleased with the weather forecast are organizers of the Sip and Stroll, a benefit for the Hough Foundation that runs 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday starting at the Brickhouse, 109 W. 15th St.

Tickets are $35 per person or 2 for $60.

Executive Director Kate Sacamano said last year’s Sip and Stroll, in which participants walk along Main, Washington and Broadway streets while tasting wine and craft beer in 38 downtown shops, was in September. “We had a torrential downpour,” she said. “So we moved it to July.”

Sacamano said advance ticket sales have been good and she’s expecting at least 600 people.

The biggest event in the county this weekend? The 2011 Washougal MX National, a motocross event that typically draws more than 20,000 to 30,000 people for the Saturday races.

Mike Carnes, division chief for East County Fire & Rescue, said the prediction of warm weather hasn’t prompted any new concerns.

While riders have their own paramedics, East County Fire & Rescue, along with a crew from the city of Camas Fire Department — which provides paramedic services for East County Fire & Rescue — are responsible for the crowds.

The 80-degree weather is preferable than 90-plus, Carnes said.

For one, very hot weather would prompt concerns about (often intoxicated) crowds moving down to the Washougal River after the races.

Second, pleasant weather “slows down the craziness,” he said. “Tempers tend to get hot when people are hot and have been drinking.”

And what would a story on July weather be without a mention of weddings?

Vicki Greenleaf of Windsor Weddings at The Academy in downtown Vancouver said the building’s noisy wall air conditioning units are a thing of the past, as a new heating and cooling system was installed last year.

“We’ve got quiet heat in the winter and quiet air in the summer,” Greenleaf said.

If temperatures hit 100 degrees or higher for a few days in a row, then it can be uncomfortable in the brick building, she said.

So no sweat there.

Despite the cooler temps this summer, brides and grooms are still opting for air-conditioning, “because the nerves take over,” Greenleaf said. “Especially for our pregnant brides, who are running hot already.”

Marissa Harshman and Stephanie Rice are happy they do not have to work this weekend.