Seattle heat wave flash blog: Temp updates, outages
This is a hot blog.
Photos: What 108 degrees looks like when you're having fun
The roads are buckling from the heat
As commuters head home for the day, the Washington State Department of Transportation says it's in the middle of four pavement panel repairs due to the record-breaking heat wave's effect on roads.
WSDOT is advising drivers to stay alert and plan for large backups.
PHOTOS: As temperatures soar, Seattleites hit the beach
As Seattle hit an all-time record of 107 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, Laurelhurst residents flocked to their beach club. Juan Chiquiza, KUOW social media strategist, took these photos.
Seattle sets new high temp record
Seattle immigration court closes
Immigration proceedings -- which have slowed down due to Covid-19 -- are now shut down because of the extreme weather.
The Seattle Office of Immigration Review based downtown cited the heat and an "inoperable HVAC system" for their closure Monday.
There are over 17 thousand immigration cases currently backlogged at the Seattle court.
Careful with those baby feet burns
Harborview Medical Center has seen several children in their burn unit for asphalt burns to their feet. Pets are also at risk.
"The roads are melting in places here," said Dr. Beth Ebel, a UW Medicine pediatrician. "It is ferociously hot. Do not have your kid running around barefoot when they can be on that kind of hot surface, you’ve got to get the shoes on."
Good news from the weather service! (See update above. Just a brief moment of respite)
No heat-related deaths so far, but hospital visits increase
Last week saw at least 57 heat-related visits to emergency rooms in the Seattle region, according to the Seattle-King County Health Department. Those admitted reported vomiting, fainting, and heat stroke.
Saturday accounted for most of those visits, with preliminary numbers showing that 41 people went to emergency rooms. These individuals came from all over the county. The largest group getting sick, with 43 percent of the total, was in the 18-44 age bracket.
From a Seattle-King County Health Department statement: “Chief complaints and discharge diagnoses include syncope (temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure), near syncope, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, vomiting, dizziness and dehydration.”
Among those visits, seven were for drowning, near drowning and submersion, which is more than usual, the health department said.
Separately, EMS services (ambulance) reported 37 heat-related illnesses on Saturday, when it reached 103 degrees.
Friends from Los Angeles approve of these cooling tips
The birds are gonna be okay
Editor’s note: Ashley Hiruko was assigned to this story because her editor worried that all the baby birds would get cooked in this heat wave. She called Audubon and was reassured.
Birds’ temperatures are warmer than humans – 102 to 109 degrees. Which means that they can hang in extreme temperatures … but past 109 degrees, and it becomes more difficult for them to regulate. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s get much warmer than this on Monday.
Seattle Audubon Society had not heard about suspicious bird deaths but encourages you to file dead bird reports to dbird.org.
In the meantime, help birds stay cool by putting out water for them in the shade. Or if you water your plants in the middle of the day* those droplets help to hydrate birds.
*If you are a plant person, it’s not advised to water during the day because those very droplets can act as mirrors and scorch your leaves.
Where to cool down in Seattle
The city of Seattle is opening yet another cooling center Monday morning at the Amazon Meeting Center at 2031 7th Avenue in downtown.
It'll be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
People coming into the cooling centers need to wear a mask and show ID. No pets are allowed (exceptions for service animals).
The city has opened at least 34 other cooling centers in local libraries, senior and community centers. There are about 30 beaches, pools, spray parks, and wading pools open too.
Library cooling centers (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave NW
Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way SW
Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E Yesler Way
Greenwood Branch, 8016 Greenwood Ave North
High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St.
International District/Chinatown Branch, 713 Eighth Ave. South
Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave. N.E.
Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave. South
South Park Branch, 8604 8th Ave South
— Angela King
About those power outages
We’re tracking power outages this morning. Nearly 2,800 Puget Sound Energy customers have no power right now. More than 300 City Light customers are also waiting for power to be restored.
One challenge facing Seattle City Light crews: They’ve got to get down into these underground vaults to fix some of the failed equipment. The utility company told King 5 News that those vaults are event hotter than the temperatures above ground, so workers must limit how much time they spend down there.
Heat causes disruptions to Sound Transit rail service
Sound Transit is warning passengers that all Link light rail trains are operating at reduces speeds because the tracks are overheating amid the heat wave.
— Angela King
You might be feeling eco anxiety, or climate grief
This tweet from Jane C. Hu, a science writer based in Seattle, hit me like a gut punch.
It reminded me of Ashley Ahearn's Terrestrial podcast, in which she explores eco anxiety. It was one of the first times a journalist explored this notion.
As the effects of climate change get worse, psychologists are finding that it’s making people more stressed and therefore more likely to develop anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, depression and problems with substance abuse.
In the U.S., psychologists saw those kinds of reactions immediately after Hurricane Katrina and superstorm Sandy. And in Australia, they saw it during the Millennium drought that went on for more than a decade.
I highly recommend listening to this podcast, which went viral back when it first aired.
It's hot for the same reason it cooks in Phoenix
The record temperatures in the region are being driven by conditions more commonly found in the Southwest, in cities like Phoenix, Arizona.
Justin Pullin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said that warm winds coming from the Cascades are getting trapped under high atmospheric pressure, creating a heat-dome effect. This sort of high pressure system leads to the infamously high temperatures in areas like Phoenix.
"Plenty of days in the 100s and the 110s, and it's normal down there for them this time of year," Pullin said. "We're basically translating that weather pattern and bringing it over the Northwest, an area that is not used to that."
Seattle has been knocking out temperature records
103 on Saturday.
104 on Sunday.
What will it be today, Monday?
The weather service folks do seem to be getting some glee out of these records, tweeting them out like they would sports scores — I'm a journalist, I get it; we take pleasure in the extreme, too — but then you see tweets like this and it takes all the excitement out of it.
Golden Gardens: 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 27, when the mercury hit 104 in Seattle
It felt like 148 degrees on the track at the Eugene Olympic trials
Lake Washington School District canceled football workouts for Monday.
Further south, officials in Eugene, Oregon, temporarily suspended last nights competition at the the track and field Olympic trials. The air temperature was 107 degrees, but down on the track, it felt more like 148 degrees.
At least one athlete had to be wheeled away after she collapsed.