Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baby, its hot out there!

Record-setting temperatures have been experienced all over the Pacific Northwest.  Yesterday's high in Salem of 106 far exceeded the previous high for the day of 101, set recently in 2003, and approached the all-time high of 108.  In both Portland and Hillsboro, previous highs below 100 degrees, were exceeded with temperatures of 105 and 106 respectively.

Although these extreme weather events are not necessarily indicative of the broader global warming occurring in  the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere, they do provide us with first hand experience of how small changes in average temperatures (just 3-4 degrees for the month -- and just a half a degree over a year) nonetheless dramatically affect our lifestyles, health, and well-being.  Everyone becomes preoccupied with staying cool and its hard to get anything done in the absence of air conditioning.  Many of us in the Pacific Northwest resist using AC because of the impact more energy consumption has on global warming.  But.....baby, its hot out there!


The NOAA National Weather Service Record Report follows:


Statement as of 5:30 am PDT on July 30, 2009

... Pacific northwest heat wave continues to break records...

The major Pacific northwest heat wave of July 2009 broke several more records across the area Wednesday. The temperatures recorded Tuesday and Wednesday pushed historic highs... and in some cases exceeded them. Below is a preliminary list of record high temperatures that were broken July 29.

                                                            Existing
location         new record     old record     all-time record
================================================================
Vancouver     108*         105 (1907)     105 (06/30/1942)
Hood River     107         103 (2003)     108 (08/18/1977)
Portland Airport     106         100 (2003)     107 (08/10/1981)
Salem         106         101 (2003)     108 (08/09/1981)
Hillsboro         106         98 (1990)         108 (07/19/1956)
Portland downtown     105         99 (2003)         106 (08/10/1981)
Eugene         105         101 (2003)     108 (08/09/1981)
McMinnville     105         100 (2003)     110 (07/10/1926)
Troutdale         104         104 (1998)     108 (08/18/1977)

*exceeded all-time record high temperature

Additionally... this heat wave may also be record setting with regard to duration. For Portland... .if highs reach 90 or greater through Saturday we will break the all time record for consecutive days at or above 90 degrees... which stands at 8 days (ending 08/19/1967).

Portland is also challenging their all time hottest month on record.The existing record hottest July was 74.1 degrees... back in 1985...which also stands as the hottest average temperature for any month on record at Portland Airport. The average temperature this July through the 29th is just above 73 degrees... with two well-above normal days forecast for the 30th and 31st. At this point it appears we may fall just short... but still this will go down as one of the hottest months on record in the Portland Metro area.

Hottest months on record for Portland Airport
=============================================
1. 74.1 degrees - July 1985
2. 72.9 degrees - August 1967
3. 72.3 degrees - August 1986
4. 72.1 degrees - August 1981
5. 72.0 degrees - July 1996

July 1-29 2009 average... 73.1 degrees


This morning's NWS excessive heat warning:

Event:                    Excessive Heat Warning
Instructions:        AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF                             DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF                         HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A                             DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK                             PLENTY OF FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF                             THE SUN... AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.
Alert:   

...EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM PDT THIS
EVENING FOR THE GREATER PORTLAND AND VANCOUVER METRO AREA...THE
CENTRAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY...THE SOUTH WASHINGTON CASCADES AND
FOOTHILLS...THE NORTH AND CENTRAL OREGON CASCADES AND FOOTHILLS... 
THE WESTERN COLUMBIA GORGE...AND THE UPPER HOOD RIVER VALLEY...
 
AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM PDT THIS
EVENING.

ANOTHER HOT DAY IS IN STORE FOR INTERIOR AREAS OF SOUTHWEST
WASHINGTON AND NORTHWEST OREGON TODAY. TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED
TO REACH WELL INTO THE 90S ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA...WITH
HIGH TEMPERATURES POSSIBLY PUSHING 100 DEGREES ONCE AGAIN ACROSS
THE LOWLANDS.

WHILE TEMPERATURES TODAY ARE EXPECTED TO BE A FEW DEGREES COOLER
THAN THEY WERE DURING THE PEAK OF THE HEAT WAVE TUESDAY AND
WEDNESDAY...TODAY WILL STILL BE QUITE UNCOMFORTABLE ESPECIALLY FOR
THOSE WORKING OUTDOORS AND THOSE WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING. FOR
THOSE WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING...SEVERAL NIGHTS OF RECORD WARMTH
HAVE NOT ALLOWED OVERNIGHT RELIEF FROM THE HEAT. THIS IS ESPECIALLY
THE CASE IN URBAN AREAS...WHERE TEMPERATURES HAVE STRUGGLED TO
FALL OUT OF THE 70S AT NIGHT. THE LACK OF RELIEF OVERNIGHT
COMPOUNDS THE HEAT STRESS EXPERIENCED DURING THE VERY HOT
AFTERNOONS...AND TODAY WILL BE NO EXCEPTION.

SOME NOTICEABLE RELIEF IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP TONIGHT AS STRONGER
ONSHORE FLOW PUSHES COOLER MARINE AIR INTO THE AREA. TEMPERATURES
ARE STILL EXPECTED TO BE ABOVE NORMAL AS WE HEAD INTO THE
WEEKEND...BUT A GRADUAL COOLING TREND DOES APPEAR TO BE DEVELOPING
FOR THE AREA OVER THE NEXT COUPLE DAYS.

Target Area:   
Greater Portland Metro Area
Central Willamette Valley
Western Columbia River Gorge
Northern Oregon Cascade Foothill
Northern Oregon Cascades
Cascade Foothills in Lane County
Cascades in Lane County



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