Wednesday was a brief chill in Seattle’s week-long heatwave
Residents of the Puget Sound area had a brief cooldown — if you could call it that — on Wednesday. But that was probably small consolation for those working outdoors or sweltering indoors without air conditioning, as the high temperature remained in the 90s.
The National Weather Service heat advisory will remain in effect through Saturday for Seattle and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. And it’s not just you who think your weather app keeps adding days to the heat wave and pushing predicted highs even higher.
“You wouldn’t imagine this,” Carly Kovacik of the National Weather Service in Seattle said Wednesday. “It just keeps dragging on for another day. Saturday is now looking a little warmer than previous forecasts.
Tuesday’s maximum in Seattle broke a daily record, with 94 degrees recorded around 5 p.m. at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The previous record on this date was 92, set four years ago. Wednesday was slightly cooler than Tuesday, and by cooler that means only about 91, due to some mid-level clouds from the south. Yet in the least air-conditioned metropolitan area in the United States, we’ll take it.
An offshore low pressure area was expected to push an area of high pressure, which is above us at the moment, to the east. This area of low pressure is coming slower than expected, Kovacik said.
At medical centers in King County, there were 13 ER visits and fewer than 10 EMS responses Tuesday for heat-related illnesses, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County, which provides daily data. No heat-related deaths or drownings have been reported, although additional heat-related deaths may be confirmed later. During last year’s heatwave, with record high temperatures, there were 275 heat-related visits to emergency departments in one day, representing 11% of all single-day visits, the health department said.
At UW-Montlake Medical Center in Seattle, a person with a heat-related complaint was treated Tuesday, according to spokesman Brian Donohue. Dr. Steve Mitchell, director of the emergency department at Harborview Medical Center, said in a press release that his biggest concern is the cumulative symptoms that appear on the third or fourth day of a heat wave.
Swedish health service emergency departments have not seen an increase in heat-related visits, but are “ready and prepared” for an increase in cases, Swedish spokeswoman Natalie Kozimor said.
An ozone alert issued by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency remains in effect for east Issaquah, North Bend, Enumclaw and other areas of the Cascade foothills in King and Pierce counties.
According to the agency, ozone, or smog, levels will become unhealthy for sensitive groups in the afternoons every day this week because of the heat. People considered to be at higher risk include infants, children, people over 65, and people who are pregnant or have heart or lung disease, respiratory infections, or diabetes. Stroke patients and people infected with COVID-19 are also considered sensitive to high ozone levels.
Sensitive groups should minimize time spent outdoors from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and indoors, close windows and use air conditioning in recirculation mode. The agency recommends going to a public place, such as a mall, library or community center, if there is no air conditioning at home.
As residents flocked to beaches, pools and water parks, Kirkland’s popular Juanita Beach was closed because high levels of bacteria were discovered Monday by the King County Land and Water Resources Division . People and pets should avoid the water until the beach reopens, which will be next week at the earliest.
Kirkland lifeguards will be at the beach, which also has signs indicating closure.
The swimming beaches at East Green Lake Beach in Seattle, Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton and Meydenbauer Bay Park in Bellevue are also closed for health reasons.
By Sunday, the weather will still be warm by Seattle standards, but with an expected high in the mid-80s instead of the 90s. And by next week, we’ll be back in the upper 70s, with the potential for showers.
“It will be a noticeable change,” Kovacik said.