Pacific Northwest heat wave shatters all-time records

An historic heat wave in the Pacific Northwest shattered temperature records, pushing daytime temperatures well above 100 degrees, and even disrupted Olympic qualifying events. 

Records were being broken across the region, and the sizzling temperatures were expected to get even hotter Monday before beginning to cool on Tuesday.

Portland, Oregon, reached 112 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday, breaking the all-time temperature record of 108 F, which was set just a day earlier, according to the National Weather Service.

In Eugene, Oregon, the U.S. track and field trials were halted Sunday afternoon and fans were asked to evacuate the stadium due to extreme heat. The NWS said it hit 111 F in Eugene, breaking the all-time record of 108 F in 1981.

2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials - Day 10

EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 27: Athing Mu competes in the Women's 800 Meter Run Final during day ten of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 27, 2021, in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Oregon's Capital city, Salem, also recorded the highest temperature in its history on Sunday: 112 F, breaking the old mark by 4 degrees.

The temperature hit 104 F in Seattle, smashing Saturday’s 102-degree high and the all-time high of 103 F set in 2009, according to Q13 FOX in Seattle. Meteorologists said temperatures were expected to continue soaring Monday and reach 110 F or higher in the city better known for rain than heat.

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It got so hot in Seattle Sunday the city parks department closed a community pool in the southern portion of the city because of "unsafe, dangerous pool deck temperatures."

King County also closed several COVID-19 testing sites because of the heat. Seattle opened additional public library branches Sunday, and will again Monday, to provide additional cooling centers.

Seattle's light rail trains may have to operate at reduced speeds because of excessive heat on the tracks, causing delays that could continue into the workweek, Sound Transit said Sunday.

There were also some power outages reported. Portland General Electric said about 3,000 customers were without electricity in the greater Portland area Sunday afternoon. Puget Sound Energy reported 3,400 customers down in the greater Seattle area.

The heat wave stretched into British Columbia, with the temperature in Lytton, a village in the Canadian province, reaching 115 F (46.1 C) Sunday afternoon, marking a new all-time high recorded in Canada.

A heat warning was in effect for most of Western Canada and the country's weather agency says numerous daily temperature records have been shattered across British Columbia, which is directly north of Washington state.

The scorching weather was caused by an extended "heat dome" parked over the Pacific Northwest. Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its effects on public health, said the days-long heat wave was a taste of the future as climate change reshapes global weather patterns.

Cities were reminding residents where pools, splash pads and cooling centers were available and urging people to stay hydrated, check on their neighbors and avoid strenuous activities.

The National Weather Service in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said this week's weather "will likely be one of the most extreme and prolonged heat waves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest."

But even amid the heat, about 3,000 athletes participated in an Ironman Triathlon in Coeur d’Alene on Sunday. The race start was moved up to 5 a.m. The event includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.

Race organizers said they had 62,000 pounds of ice at hydration stations, misting stations and chilled towels to hand out to athletes, KHQ-TV reported. The winner crossed the finish line just after 1 p.m. local time, where the temperature was hovering at roughly 101 F, according to the news outlet.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.