Extraordinary heatwave expected, be prepared

An extreme heatwave is expected to settle over the Willamette Valley this weekend, and state and local authorities are encouraging everyone to be prepared. 

From Friday afternoon, June 25, through Monday evening, June 28, dangerously hot temperatures are forecast. Locally, the National Weather Service is projecting highs of 94 degrees on Friday, 103 degrees on Saturday, 105 degrees on Sunday and 97 degrees on Monday. Overnight lows temperatures range from 65 to 70 degrees.

The high daytime temperatures, combined with warm overnight lows, will result in high heat risk and heat-related stress. Daily high temperature records will likely be broken. There is a chance to break the all time June high temperature records for a few locations.

Prevention of heat-related illness is critical during hot weather. Here are a few tips to beat the heat:

• Move to the shade; park spaces with trees and other forested areas can provide much needed protection from the elements 

• Drink lots of fluids. You should drink small amounts frequently, e.g. one cup every 20 minutes.

• Don’t leave children or pets in the car. Even leaving them in the car for a little bit can be dangerous and temperatures can become life-threatening within minutes.

• Manage workloads and do the heaviest physical labor in the cooler part of the day. Add frequent short breaks. Monitor yourself and co-workers for signs of heat illness.

• Wear lightweight clothing. Light colored cotton fabric is a good choice.

• Pull blinds or shades to reduce the amount of solar heating coming from the windows. Keep windows closed when air conditioning is running.

• When possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall, theater, or other public location that does.

• Be sure pets have lots of fresh water to drink.

• Check on sick and elderly neighbors that may be susceptible to heat illness.

For unsheltered residents, ARCHES, the local community service agency, is planning to provide afternoon shelter at its Salem day center on Saturday and Sunday. This will run from noon to 4 p.m. The group is seeking six volunteers for each day to help provide cold beverages and access to shade and AC at the center.

The high temperatures will be generated by a “heat dome” settling over much of the Pacific Northwest. A heat dome a ridge of high pressure that allows hot air to build in a vertical column, and limits clouds from forming.