Temperatures blew past the century mark in Vancouver this afternoon, hitting a record 103 degrees before easing as evening began.
The National Weather Service station at Pearson Field recorded a temperature of 100 degrees at 4:53 p.m., with a peak temperature of 103 in the six hours previous. The NWS reported temperatures of 101 degrees at 2:53 p.m. and 102 degrees at 3:53 p.m.
It was the first time Vancouver had recorded a temperature above 100 in three years, said Steve Pierce, president of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society.
"We have to go back to July 29, 2009, to see another high temperature above the century mark," Pierce said. That day also happened to see the highest temperature recorded at Pearson: 108 degrees.
The previous record high for Aug. 4 was 99 degrees in 1952.
NWS meteorologist Liana Ramirez said the higher-than-forecast temperatures are a result of a stronger flow of hot interior air from east of the Cascade Range. Such "offshore" flows of air bring hot weather to Western Washington and Oregon.
Ramirez had said temperatures could climb a few more degrees this afternoon, topping out at 102 or 103.
The overnight low is forecast in the mid 60s, with a high on Sunday expected in the mid 90s. Temperatures should moderate on Monday with a greater "onshore" flow of cooler air from the Pacific Ocean.
A NWS heat advisory warns that area residents can reduce risk of heat-related health problems by taking frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned areas. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911.
The advisory also warns those flocking to area lakes and streams to use extra caution and be sure to wear a life jacket. Many of the fatalities during hot spells in the Pacific Northwest occur in and around water.