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Dec. 9, 2023

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Vancouver breaks another record, hitting 115 degrees

Area saw 120 percent increase in heat-related ambulance dispatches

By , Columbian staff reporter
6 Photos
Kurt Vigeland of Vancouver cools off at Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park while playing with family dog, Vita, 4, as temperatures soar on Monday morning, June 28, 2021.
Kurt Vigeland of Vancouver cools off at Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park while playing with family dog, Vita, 4, as temperatures soar on Monday morning, June 28, 2021. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Vancouver set its all-time high temperature record Monday at 115 degrees, while many spent the day hunkering down indoors or flocking to water to beat the heat.

The National Weather Service in Portland noted the heat record just before 4 p.m. at Pearson Airfield, which broke Sunday’s record by 3 degrees. The agency had predicted earlier Monday that the high would cap out at 114 degrees in Vancouver.

Before the weekend, the highest temperature recorded in Vancouver was 108 degrees in July 2009.

Today is expected to bring some relief, with the Weather Service predicting a high of 91 degrees.

Emergency services were busy over the weekend, treating patients suffering from symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

AMR Portland reported a 120 percent increase in heat-related dispatches compared with this time last year. Those calls made for a 24 percent increase in daily calls for service over this time last year.

Clark County residents broke records for water and power consumption over the weekend, prompting Clark Public Utilities on Monday to encourage Hockinson residents to scale back their water usage.

Water usage was drastically higher than normal, up from about 25 million gallons of water used across the county per day. Over the weekend, daily usage was over 33 million gallons, according to Clark Public Utilities.

The utility asked Hockinson residents south of Allworth Road, east of 167th Avenue to state Highway 500, to limit water to personal necessities and to cut out water for lawns, plants or recreational activities.

The city of Vancouver expected water usage from Monday and Sunday to come in at over 50 million gallons each day. On a typical June day, customers use about 33 million gallons of water per day, according to Vancouver Public Works spokeswoman Loretta Callahan. However, she said that level of demand has been reached in June before, and the city did not expect any problems with supply.

On Monday, Clark Public Utilities also asked customers to conserve electricity, though spokesman Dameon Pesanti said the grid was doing well.

On a typical Sunday in June, utility customers draw about 10,750 megawatt hours of electricity. On Sunday, residents used 18,000 megawatt hours, or 67 percent more than normal, according to Clark Public Utilities.

It expected even more demand Monday, because usage is typically higher on weekdays. The utility was using its River Road natural gas plant over the weekend and Monday to keep up with demand.

Pesanti said those who have air conditioning should leave their units set to a consistent temperature, such as 76 degrees or higher. Waiting for your residence to heat up before turning the air on only makes systems work harder to play catch-up, he said.

He recommended that those without air conditioning use fans, which are much cheaper to power than air conditioning.

People should also close blinds or drapes to block sunlight from coming into the windows of homes that face the afternoon rays, Pesanti said, adding that it’s even better to block it from outside the home.

Avoid cooking with an oven or stove, as those will raise the temperature inside quickly.

Anytime the temperature outside dips below the temperature inside, opening windows will help get warmer air out, especially overnight with the low temperature predicted at 67 degrees. But close windows once the temperature gets warmer outside.

Officials also recommend cooler showers to keep body temperatures down.

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