Environment, Gales Creek, Weather

‘Excessive Heat Watch’ issued in advance of weekend triple-digit temperatures

The Sun in Gales Creek on June 23, 2021. The Sun is a star located in the Milky Way galaxy and orbited by a number of celestial bodies, including the planet known by many of its inhabitants as the Earth. Photo: Chas Hundley

It’s going to be hot this weekend, so hot, in fact, that meteorologists are expecting the possibility that June temperature records could be broken, and that the weather will bring life-threatening heat to the region. 

The Portland office of the National Weather Service issued an “Excessive Heat Watch” Wednesday morning for almost the whole state of Oregon, including the entirety of Washington County. 

The watch begins Friday evening, and extends through Monday evening. The hottest day of that period will be Sunday, June 27, where the National Weather Service currently forecasts a high of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, one of three days forecast with triple-digit temperatures from Saturday to Monday. 

“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” the Portland NWS said. 

The federal weather agency urged residents to monitor local forecasts as the weather event progresses, drink plenty of fluids, stay inside air conditioned rooms, and to avoid the sun. 

The agency also noted that residents should check up on their relatives and neighbors as well. 

“Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” the NWS said. 

The Washington County Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement on Wednesday, noting that resources for county residents on how to handle the heat were forthcoming on a webpage set up for the purpose

The department had the following advice: 

— Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.

— Drink plenty of fluids (water is best), even if you don’t feel thirsty.

— Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.

— Exercise in the early morning when it tends to be cooler.

— Avoid strenuous activity in the heat of the day.

— Take cool showers or baths.

— Close your blinds and curtains to keep sunlight out.

— If the temperature falls at night, open your windows to let the cool air in (if it is safe to do so).

— Get a baby pool or play in a sprinkler. Visit a local sprayground or fountain.

— Use fans but do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device when it is very hot. Instead, mist yourself with a spray bottle, and then use the fan to get the cooling benefits of evaporation. Disability, Aging and Veteran Services has a limited number of free electric fans for individuals ages 60 and up in Washington County. Call 503-846-3060.

— Do not use your stove/oven or do laundry on very hot days.

— Eat small, light meals.

— Never leave children or pets in cars.

— If you choose to swim or recreate in a local river or lake, be sure to wear a personal flotation device and take other safety precautions. More info on Red Cross page.

The region entered fire season on Tuesday for those in and near Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands, and all Washington County fire agencies issued a burn ban on Tuesday as well, with the exception of small warming or cooking fires and barbecue-type appliances.

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

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