UPDATED: Salem excessive heat warning in effect through Thursday

By Caitlyn May and Rachel Alexander – of the Salem Reporter

This article was updated Monday, July 25, to reflect the latest forecast.

Salem won’t break any records this week, but the area may see triple-digit temperatures as a heat wave blankets much of the Pacific Northwest.

The National Weather Service in Portland has issued an excessive heat warning covering Salem north to the Portland area, including most of Polk and much of Marion County. The warning begins at noon Monday and lasts through 9 p.m. Thursday.

“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working of participating in outdoor activities,” the warning read. “Overnight lows in the in the mid to upper 60s will provide little relief for those without air conditioning.”

The heat will began Sunday and continues this week with an expected high of 98 Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Tuesday is expected to reach a high of 102, while Wednesday may hit 96.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty with how hot Sunday and Monday are going to be but beginning Tuesday, our confidence builds in regards to the heat,” said meteorologist John Bumgardner on Friday. “There’s potential for temperatures over 100 but it doesn’t look like we’ll break a record.”

The record for next week was set back on July 28, 2009 with a temperature of 107. This year, the forecast is predicting a temperature of 95 on that date. 

While higher temperature forecasts may exist for the coming week, Bumgardner said that’s because most private sector apps look at just one model. The National Weather Service collects multiple models and additional data before making the most likely forecast. 

Homeless service providers in Salem are gearing up for a busy week.

“We remember last year’s heat dome, and while the temperatures aren’t forecasted to reach the same highs …it’s a huge concern because unsheltered populations don’t have the same access to potable water as the rest of the population does,” said Robert Marshall, emergency services manager for the ARCHES Project.

He said the agency has extended its day center hours from 9 a..m. to 7 p.m. from Sunday, July 24 through Saturday, July 30 to give people more time to cool off. The center typically closes at 4:30 p.m.

Salemites who want to help their neighbors stay cool can drop off electrolyte beverages like Gatorade at the day center, 615 Commercial St. N.E., during its open hours next week, Marshall said.

Outreach workers will be out at homeless camps and Salem’s streets offering water and cool beverages, and making sure people have transportation to cooling centers if needed. Cherriots is also offering free bus rides to cooling shelter locations.

Church at the Park will likely offer misters to keep people cool at its location on Southeast Turner Road, said Sam Dompier, the chief housing and development officer.

The church operates micro shelter villages in Salem. The small shelters have swamp cooling that can “take the edge off,” though it’s not as effective as air conditioning, Dompier said. They’ll also hand out more water and electrolyte beverages.

Salem city officials said residents without air conditioning can cool off in city buildings, including the Salem Public Library and Center 50+.

“As temperatures exceed 100 degrees in the coming days, the city will continue to work with our community service network to provide adequate cooling shelters across the community,” the city’s public information officer John Winn said in a statement. 

A number of city locations and homeless service providers will operate as cooling centers next week. Marshall said anyone is welcome to stop by and cool off, whether they have housing or not.

Splash pads will also be open daily at parks around Salem. A list of locations and hours is available on the city website.

Cooling center locations in Salem

A map of these locations and others in Marion and Polk counties is available here.

The ARCHES Project

615 Commercial St. N.E. 

Hours: Daily from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., July 24-30

Salem Public Library

585 Liberty St. S.E.

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Union Gospel Mission

777 Commercial St. N.E.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 5:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

HOME Youth Services

625 Union St. N.E.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 12-7 p.m., Friday 12-5 p.m.


694 Church St. N.E.

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Recovery Outreach Community Center

2555 Silverton Road N.E.

Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.