The Twin Cities and much of the state will experience record-breaking daily high temperatures this weekend as a heat wave grips the greater Pacific Northwest.
Centralia could hit a peak 105 degrees Sunday, which would be the hottest temperature ever recorded in the area during the month of June.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an excessive heat warning for much of Washington state and parts of western Oregon between Friday and Tuesday afternoon, with high temperatures expected to linger well into late next week.
Mike McFarland, meteorologist with the NWS in Seattle, said every corner of Lewis County — from the high elevations of White Pass to the hills and valleys of Pe Ell — should expect to see hot weather.
“I wouldn't want to be driving around looking for a cool spot. I’d just stay in place,” he said. “Pour yourself a lemonade and try not to wring your hands.”
Sunday and Monday will be the two days to watch, McFarland said, with Centralia expected to hit about 100 degrees on Saturday to start off the heat wave.
“If we’re going to be beating the daily record in Seattle by 7 degrees, we’ll be beating the daily record everywhere by several degrees,” he said.
McFarland said he’s confident the area will experience daily and monthly highs, but he said he would bet against the Twin Cities hitting any all-time highs.
Some Lewis County residents might remember a rather nasty heat wave in 2009. On July 29 of that year, Centralia recorded an all-time record of 107 degrees, McFarland said. The next day it was 106.
The heat wave is expected to linger into next week with cooler, but still relatively hot, temperatures.
“We might see some morning clouds by early next week, but they’ll burn off,” McFarland said, adding the region could see some temperatures in the 90s late next week.
Hotter, drier conditions will lead to increased risk of wildfires, especially in areas near interstates and highways and going into the Fourth of July holiday.
NWS Seattle is also reminding the public that warm weather brings with it an increase in cold water accidents at lakes and on rivers.
“Warm air temperatures can create a false sense of security, but cold water can quickly become a life-threatening situation. The decision to wear a life jacket or use floatation devices can save a life,” NWS Seattle tweeted on Tuesday.
It’s also suggested the public stay hydrated and remain within shaded areas when possible during extreme heat. People should also be aware of dehydration and know the symptoms, which include thirst, dry skin, headaches, dry mouth, less frequent urination and rapid heartbeat.
During a Wednesday morning COVID-19 briefing, Secretary of Health Umair Shah highlighted tips to stay cool and safe during the heatwave, including staying indoors, drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids and making sure meals are balanced and light. He reminded viewers to never leave children or pets in parked vehicles.
It’s also important for people to keep up on coronavirus health guidelines, even during the heat spell.
“When it’s hot, people may tend to say, ‘I’m not going to take my mask with me because I’m not going to wear it.’ We want that not to be the case. We want people to absolutely have their mask with them, even when it’s warm and certainly if they’re in crowded or indoor settings,” Shah said.