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News / Clark County News

Vancouver breaks all-time heat record

Temperature reaches 112 degrees; Monday could be hotter

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: June 27, 2021, 11:53am

Vancouver set its all-time heat record on Sunday.

The National Weather Service recorded 112 degrees just after 4 p.m. at Pearson Field. That broke the record of 108 degrees that was set on July 29, 2009 and matched on Saturday.

The daily record high of 97 was matched shortly before noon. An east wind then arrived, sending the mercury spiking.

An excessive heat warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Monday. The NWS predicts another scorcher on Monday with a high of 115 degrees. Tuesday should be 94, then a westerly wind will drop highs to near 90 for the rest of the week.

Portland International Airport also reported 112 degrees, the all-time hottest temperature for the city, where records date to 1874.

Tyler Kranz, a meteorologist with the NWS Portland office, said even experienced professionals were skeptical when forecast models predicted such extreme temperatures early last week.

“At the time, it was hard to go with a forecast of 115 degrees in an area of the country where those temperatures just weren’t a thing,” Kranz said. “As we got closer to the event, we began upping the forecast each day. We now know how hot it can truly get here.”

The overnight low temperatures are also setting records. Vancouver is predicted at have an overnight low of 80 degrees. That would break the all-time overnight low of 75.

“There’s very little to no relief overnight,” Kranz said. “Especially in this area, the Pacific Northwest, we’re used at having some periods of cool weather at night.”

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Kranz said the scorching daytime highs as the hot overnight lows present the most risk to the elderly, infants and the homeless. The heat wave will also further dry vegetation in an area that is currently in “severe” drought conditions, according to the NWS.

“It will certainly dry out vegetation much quicker than in a normal weather patterns,” Kranz said.

The historic high temperatures stem from a “heat dome” phenomenon that has shrouded the Northwest with scalding air. Seattle is forecast to reach 104 degrees Sunday, breaking its all-time record by one degree. Spokane is forecast to have highs between 100 and 114 degrees all this week.

The searing temperatures and dry conditions have led to a complete ban on recreational burning inside Vancouver city limits.

A countywide burn ban also remains in effect until Oct. 1.

Cooling shelters opened Friday, along with splash pads in Vancouver and Battle Ground. A list of cooling shelter hours can be found on Clark County Public Health’s website, clark.wa.gov/public-health.

Compounding the extreme temperatures, the Southwest Clean Air Agency also issued an air quality warning due to smog in the Vancouver and Portland metro areas. The agency says air quality is expected to reach the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category Saturday through Monday. Officials recommend that those sensitive to smog limit their time outdoors and said people should limit pollution from driving, mowing, painting or using aerosols.

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington is also reminding people to make sure their pets have plenty of water and keep pets off of hot pavement and sand. Try to walk animals early in the morning or late in the evening and be sure they have plenty of water, a Humane Society news release states.

Sign of heatstroke in animals include heavy panting, glossy eyes, lack of coordination, vomiting and collapse. If your pet is overheating, the Humane Society says to get them in the shade or air conditioning and to put cool — but not ice-cold — water-soaked towels on the pet’s head, neck or chest.