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Friday, December 1, 2023
Dec. 1, 2023

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Heat draws many to water, shade looking for relief

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
7 Photos
Swimmers cool off Sunday in the Columbia River at Wintler Park in Vancouver. The park was a popular destination for people seeking relief from the hot weather.
Swimmers cool off Sunday in the Columbia River at Wintler Park in Vancouver. The park was a popular destination for people seeking relief from the hot weather. (Greg Wahl-Stephens for the Columbian) Photo Gallery

Record-setting heat sent many in search of relief Sunday in Vancouver.

At Wintler Park, families lined the sandy Columbia River shore. Some waded into the chilly water while others sat back under the shade of a tree, umbrella or tent.

Temperatures reached a record high of 98 at Vancouver’s Pearson Field, according to the National Weather Service. That broke the previous record of 95 degrees set in 2003. On Saturday, the high of 97 degrees at the airfield also shattered the previous record high of 90 degrees in 2003.

Forecasters predict the heat to decrease some Monday, when a high of 87 is expected in the Portland-Vancouver region.

For Joanna Klockars, the late-spring heat wave was a chance for her to spend some quality time in the sun with her sisters. The Portland resident, her two younger siblings and her partner had everything one might need for a hot day at Wintler Park: chairs, a tent to sit under, a bucket full of ice at drinks, their bathing suits, music, a football and squirt guns.

Most of them merely waded into the river, but 9-year-old Naomi Klockars dived right in.

“I was surprised by how cold it was,” Joanna Klockars said of water.

Cold water is typical for this time of year, officials warned ahead of the weekend scorcher. They advised swimmers to know their limit and that “Washington waters can be cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest days,” according to the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency.

Most swimmers and waders didn’t stray far from the beach at Wintler Park.

Christina Soto of Vancouver found the water too cold for swimming, but she was still having fun with her kids and her sister’s family.

“I like this place because it’s so close to my house,” said Soto, surrounded by beach towels, food, drinks and sand buckets. “It’s nice to spend time with my family and enjoy the day.”

Humans weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves. Frankie, a 2-year-old Parson Russell terrier, barked excitedly as another dog passed near the river’s shore. The pup appeared to be having fun, but refused to get in the water, his owner, Francisco Munoz of Vancouver, said.

“I’m trying to get him to start going swimming,” Munoz said.

Munoz and Frankie were waiting on some friends to arrive at the park so they could “probably go swimming, play some games, eat some food,” Munoz said.

He said he was caught off guard by such high temperatures so early in the season. Summer officially begins June 20.

“I didn’t have my air conditioner in yet. I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. Munoz rectified the problem before heading to the river Sunday and said he was looked forward to going home to a cool house.

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Columbian Assistant Metro Editor