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Pacific Northwest suffers through heat wave without temperature break at night

: [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: In this story, we state that “The City is working to avoidthe losses of 2021’s heat dome.” Some of the services mentioned in this storyas being provided by the City of Portland were actually provided by state andcounty government.]


Human-caused climate change has led to record-breaking temperatures across the country and much of the world this summer. Deena Prichep lives in Portland, Ore., where summers are usually temperate. But on Monday, the city hit 108 degrees.

DEENA PRICHEP, BYLINE: One hundred and eight degrees wasn't just a daily record. It's actually the hottest temperature Portland's ever recorded in the entire month of August. As even my 6-year-old daughter Odessa can tell you, the heat makes it hard to go about daily life.

ODESSA: I was supposed to go to camp today, but it was so hot that it got canceled.

PRICHEP: Portland isn't just having record highs. It's also matching records for minimum temperatures, meaning you don't even get a break at night.

ODESSA: I was definitely sweating. Like, my shirt, it was stuck to my skin.

PRICHEP: Schedules for everything from trash collection to football practice have shifted to start hours earlier and finish before temperatures peak. The city is also working to avoid the losses of 2021's heat dome. They've set up cooling centers for the hottest part of the day, circulated maps of air-conditioned public spaces, and city buses will take folks there for free.

GEORGE WOOD: They've been a lot more better prepared this time.

PRICHEP: George Wood is at a temporary misting station in Southeast Portland. The water bureau set up over a dozen of these in parks across the city. Anyone can walk up and wet their head or fill their water bottles.

WOOD: They really didn't have any of this stuff set up last time. But I mean, like, even just a simple station like this really helps out a lot.

PRICHEP: Wood lives in a tent, which can't really protect against temperatures like these.

WOOD: There's been a lot of outreach, people that have come by making sure that we stay hydrated and trying to keep up with the cooling.

PRICHEP: Wood is also looking out for his dog, Winston. The misting stations have little taps by the ground where pets can get a drink.


PRICHEP: The city is urging Portlanders to stay cool as best they can and check in on their neighbors. The National Weather Service expects temperatures to drop back to normal by the end of the week and hopes these are the last of the triple-digit days, at least for this year.

For NPR News, I'm Deena Prichep in Portland, Ore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Deena Prichep