Banks, Health, Weather

National Weather Service issues ‘Excessive Heat Watch’ beginning Wednesday

The sun near Mountaindale on July 31, 2017. The sun is widely considered a significant contributing factor to high temperatures. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Portland office of the National Weather Service issued an “Excessive Heat Watch” Sunday afternoon for much of Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon beginning Wednesday afternoon through Saturday evening. 

The NWS said that dangerously hot temperatures around 100 degrees could be reached, and urged residents to prepare for the temperatures. 

The area covered by the heat watch includes all of Washington County.

At the start of the last heat wave that struck the region beginning July 29, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for 23 counties to provide resources to tribal and local governments grappling with the emergency caused by the excessive heat. 

That declaration expired on August 5, and it wasn’t immediately clear if Brown would declare another state of emergency for the counties expected to be struck by the heat wave. 

An email to the governor’s office was not immediately returned. 

The National Weather Service noted that those working outside or doing activities outdoors, the elderly, and those without access to air conditioning were especially at risk during hot weather. 

At least 96 people died due to Oregon’s record-shattering heat wave in June, with more deaths being investigated in connection to the heat wave. 

At least seven of the people who died were Washington County residents or were in the county when they died. 

There are some steps to take to reduce the chances of heat-related illness. 

Washington County Health and Human Services established a webpage with tips on staying cool during high temperatures.

In Washington County, cooling centers west of Hillsboro include one at the North Plains Public Library, in Forest Grove at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center and the Forest Grove City Library, and one at the Cornelius Public Library. 

The NWS said that residents should monitor local forecasts to be on top of changing weather patterns, drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and in air-conditioned rooms if possible, and check up on neighbors and relatives. 

And in high temperatures, the weather agency said, children and pets should never be left in vehicles unattended. 

“Car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” the agency warned.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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