This week's scorching heat is scorching the Pacific Northwest
, shattering temperature records and causing damage to infrastructure
in a region known for its mild climate
Portland, the state's most populous city, broke its heat record of 108 degrees on Sunday when the temperature reached 112, and it may reach 115 on Monday. Salem, the state's capital, broke its heat record two days in a row, with the temperature reaching 113 degrees on Sunday and 114 degrees on Monday.
Temperatures in Washington
were slightly lower, due in part to a marine layer moving
in off the coast, but Seattle
had three consecutive days of triple-digit weather
for the first time on record on Monday.
The heat wave
has caused some unusual issues in the region, where temperatures are typically low enough all year that many people
do not have air conditioning in their homes.
The Portland Streetcar, which serves downtown Portland, halted service on Sunday and plans to remain closed until at least Tuesday morning, citing a melted power cable.
If you're wondering why we're canceling service for the day, take a look at what the heat is doing to our power cables: pic.twitter.com/EqbKUgCJ3K — Portland Streetcar (@PDXStreetcar) June 27, 2021
The city's MAX Light Rail Service also shut down, citing high temperatures as a cause of strain on the power grid and the overhead wires that power its trains
Communities affected by the heat wave are also dealing with buckling roadways, which make them unsafe to travel
on, as well as the risk of sinkholes caused by thermal expansion, which occurs when concrete or asphalt becomes too hot and begins to expand, with nowhere to go but up.
The asphalt roadway on State Route 544 milepost 7 near Everson, Washington is currently closed due to buckling and is unsafe for travel. WSDOT has been notified, and detours are in place. BL pic.twitter.com/5Yb9UYzbDc — Trooper Rocky Oliphant (@wspd7pio) June 28, 2021
A section of pavement has come loose on NB I-405 at I-5 in Tukwila, closing the SB I-405 ramp to northbound I-5, but leaving the HOV ramp open. WSP has it coned off, and our maintenance crew is on its way to make repairs. pic.twitter.com/p05K2XzN5P — WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) June 27, 2021
Here's a look at what's going on on SR 544, milepost 7 near Everson, where crews are working on repairs and have the highway closed for the time being. pic.twitter.com/7buT2X0YRa — WSDOT North (@wsdot_north) June 28, 2021
The effects on transportation can make it more difficult for people to seek relief from the heat at cooling centers or at the homes of friends
or relatives who have air conditioning. While approximately 91% of homes in the United States
have air conditioning, only 78% of homes in Portland and 44% of homes in Seattle have it.