With Clark County in the midst of a hot weather surge, local officials have recommended a host of precautions.
Temperatures peaked at 96 degrees Tuesday and are expected to reach as high as 97 degrees Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The conditions Tuesday approached the June 11 record of 99 degrees. The June 12 record, 94 degrees, could be toppled Wednesday.
Warm easterly winds, while not significant, combined with an area of low pressure over the area to create the scorching conditions, said Dave Elson, a meteorologist with the Weather Service.
“When air comes down and is forced down like that, it warms,” Elson said.
The Weather Service issued a heat advisory, which is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday. The peak of the heat is expected between 3 and 7 p.m., with low temperatures of near 60 degrees at the coolest expected around 5 a.m.
The advisory warns that young children, elderly people, animals, those who work outside and residents without air conditioning could be particularly affected by the heat wave.
Meteorologists also warn of drowning risks for those who jump into natural freshwater sources, like lakes or rivers. Due to melting snow this time of year, those seeking relief from the heat could suddenly expose themselves to a dramatic temperature shift. The Columbia River temperature, for instance, is expected to approach 64 degrees Wednesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It feels great,” Elson said. “But when you are immersed quickly like that, your body has a gasping reaction. It can make quick work if they take in a bunch of water.”
The Weather Service also advised not to leave kids or pets in cars “even for just a few minutes.” When the weather is 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can rise by almost 30 degrees within 20 minutes, according to a 2010 study from San Francisco State University.
Some final tips from the Weather Service: Drink more water, stay out of the sun and in air-conditioned rooms, check on friends and relatives, limit strenuous outside activity, wear light and loose clothing and call 911 if you have a heat stroke.
“If people just take care of their bodies, they’ll be fine,” Elson said. “But we just need to pay a little extra attention.”