Reporting from the Heat Dome

Oh joy, on Monday the high temperature was 100+!

The ‘heat dome’ over the Pacific Northwest is a first-time phenomenon for us.  Here is a link to a NYT article about how ‘weird’ this event was. I wish I could say this was a one-time deal, but it looks like this is another manifestation of climate change and portends future conditions. 

Here is a link to a posting from the King County Health Officer about our extreme heat and climate change.

Climate change is a health emergency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is literally a matter of life and death.

Jeff Duchin, MD, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County

Temps of over 100 are not unheard of in the Southwest.  The East and Mid-West get pretty toasty too.  What is unusual is that this is unusual for Western WA in June.  Our average June temperature in Seattle is 69 degrees with a low of 52. 

One of the reasons I like living here is our mild summers.  I am not a summer person and heat is not my friend.  Because our summers are mild, air conditioning isn’t common. While we have air conditioning, our unit is on its last leg.  We are hoping for it to hold out because a replacement isn’t to be found with the increased demand!

The biggest danger from heat to health is when people aren’t accustomed to it.  So that is one of the reasons our current heat dome event is such a big deal in Seattle.  No one is acclimated to temps that are 40 degrees higher than normal with no measurable evening cool down!

This weather event reminds me of my days as the Health Commissioner in Dayton, OH.  On the first hot and humid days of summer, we used to issue Heat Alerts.  The alerts were used to remind people to stay indoors, drink lots of water and frequent air-conditioned spaces if possible.  We didn’t keep the alerts up all summer because people become acclimated. 

This has been pretty scary. There have been some power outages and who knows how long the power grid can really hold up?! My activity over the past few days has been limited to getting my walk in early (before 8 AM).  I also watched a Hitchcock movie marathon (😊) and am reading up a storm.  I am looking forward to increasing my outdoor activity as soon as the temperature moderates, even slightly.

Today’s forecast of a high of 82 is looking downright chilly!

Happy birthday to my meilleur ami!



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