A potent heat wave pushed temperatures into triple-digit territory in Vancouver on Thursday, the first time the city has reached 100 degrees since August 2012.
Thursday’s official temperature, measured at Pearson Field, topped out at 103, according to the National Weather Service. Other locations around Clark County registered similar numbers late in the afternoon.
The Pearson temperature didn’t quite set a record, which is 105 degrees for July 30 in 1907.
The hot weather isn’t over yet.
Forecasters expect high temperatures to remain in the 90s at least through this weekend. After clouds and rain offered brief respite last weekend, this year’s scorcher of a summer picked up right where it left off.
“That ridge of high pressure just built right back around us,” said Shawn Weagle, a meteorologist with the weather service in Portland.
That’s bad news for fire officials worried about extreme fire danger across the region. Grass and brush fires remain a constant threat in Clark County. So do wildfires across Washington, said Janet Pearce, a state Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman.
Some people wondered if the recent dose of rain lessened fire danger in places, Pearce said. In a word, no.
“Our fire danger still exists exactly as it did even before that little bit of rain,” she said. “It’s going to take several, several inches of rain for us to get out of this hurt.”
Long-range forecasts continue to call for warmer, drier-than-usual conditions for the rest of the summer in the Northwest. Washington’s drought, meanwhile, continues to deepen. The U.S. Drought Monitor classified nearly one-third of the state as in “extreme drought” for the first time on Thursday. The entire state, including Clark County, is now in at least “severe drought,” according to the agency.
While the heat wave lingers locally, officials urged residents to take proper precautions. People should drink plenty of water, avoid or limit physical activity outdoors, or take shelter in air-conditioned buildings. The city of Vancouver and Clark County Public Health offered several suggestions:
o Firstenburg Community Center, 700 N.E. 136th Ave.
o Marshall/Luepke Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
o Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way.
o Washougal municipal complex, 1701 C St. in Washougal.
o Multiple Fort Vancouver Regional Library District locations.
Officials also stressed that if people travel anywhere, they should never leave children or pets unattended inside a parked vehicle.
Temperatures are expected to dip Friday, but only slightly. The afternoon high could again come close to triple digits in Vancouver, according to the weather service.
The county should cool back down to the lower 80s — close to normal for this time of year — by the middle of next week.