Record-breaking Heat Comes as Summer Begins in U.S.

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • The Pacific Northwest faces a heat wave with temperatures typically seen in July.
  • Daily high-temperature records have been broken across the northwest of the U.S.
  • The high heat prompts weather alerts, but many homeowners don’t have air conditioning to stay cool.
  • The record heat will also increase snowmelt in the mountains, leading to potential river flooding.

Record-high temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are prompting heat warnings this spring. Temperatures are reaching highs typically seen in July in the middle of the summer—as climate change leads to more frequent, and severe, extreme heat events.

The heat and drought in the West impact residents in many ways, including unhealthy air quality and heat stroke leading to injury or death.

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The heat continues to build, and these temperatures are just the beginning. The Climate Prediction Center from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts above-average temperatures for the Pacific Northwest for the next week at least.

Protecting yourself during heat waves

Many Americans are not prepared for heat waves—record-breaking or otherwise—this early in the year. This heat wave is reaching temperatures that are typically recorded in July!

So what can you do to protect yourself during the heat? The big thing is to find cool places to stay during the day to avoid the heat’s height and stay hydrated. Many cities and towns open cooling centers during the summer to help residents stave off the heat—check your local rec center for more information.

It’s essential not to go outside for an extended time during heat waves.

During warmer months, one common ailment people experience outside is heat stroke. According to The Mayo Clinic, these are the warning signs of heat stroke:

  • A core body temperature of 104℉ or 40℃
  • Headache
  • Red or flushed skin
  • Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
  • Confusion, agitation, delirium, and other signs of an altered mental state
  • Increased pulse or racing heart rate
  • Shallow, rapid breathing

In our summer safety guide, safety expert Rebecca Edwards explains what to do if you think someone is experiencing heat stroke:

  • First, get help immediately. Call 911, and take measures to cool the person down.
  • Get the person out of the heat.
  • Take off any extra clothing.
  • Use cool water to bring down the core body temperature (place them in a tub or shower, use a hose, mist them with cool water, or use ice packs. Or apply cold towels to the back of the neck, head, armpits, and groin).

With climate change increasing our planet’s global temperature, extreme weather events and heat waves will be more common in the warmer months. It’s essential to exercise caution when outdoors and to stay safe.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise,,,,,,, and When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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