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Temperature records smashed amid historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest

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Temperature records were smashed in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and western Canada amid a historic heat wave described by the National Weather Service (NWS) as "historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented." Daytime temperatures were pushed into the triple digits, triggering heat warnings from Oregon to Canada's Arctic territories on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

For the second consecutive day, temperatures rose to record-breaking, dangerously high levels in the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. 

Portland soared to 44.4 °C (112 °F), its highest temperature in more than 80 years of records. This new mark occurred just one day after recording 42 °C (108 °F), which had broken the previous all-time record of 41.7 °C (107 °F). Meanwhile, Seattle hit 40 °C (104 °F), exceeding the past record of 39.4 °C (103 °F).

The Dalles in Oregon sweltered through 46.1 °C (115 °F), topping 43.9 °C (111 °F) set in 1998 and 1992.

Salem in Oregon reached 45 °C (113 °F), topping the all-time record high of 42.4 °C (108 °F) from 1927, 1941, and 1981. Vancouver in Washington reached 44.4 °C (112 °F), surpassing the all-time record of 42.2 °C (108 °F) on Saturday, June 27, which tied with the record from 2009.

Medford in Oregon saw its warmest June temperature with 45 °C (113 °F), exceeding the previous monthly record of 43.9 °C (111 °F). Pasco in Washington reached 46.1 °C (115 °F), topping the warmest June set in 2015 with 43.9 °C (111 °F). 

The abnormal heat swelled north of the international border as Canada registered its highest temperature ever recorded when Lytton in British Columbia hit 46.7 °C (116 °F). 

Kamloops in British Columbia reached 42.8 °C (116 °F), marking its highest temperature on record. Victoria International Airport hit 37.2 °C (99 °F), topping its all-time record of 36.1 °C (97 °F) in 2007 and 1941.

Prior to the record heat, NSW warned that temperatures will be "historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented," adding, "we can’t stress enough how impactful this heat will be to nearly every person and community in the Pacific and Inland Northwest region."

NWS in Seattle and Portland described the heat as unprecedented, forecasting scores of long-standing records. More than 25 million residents from Northern California are under excessive heat warnings, which are in force until next week. 

Washington, Oregon, and Idaho could see their hottest June on record, NWS added, seeing temperatures of at least 45 °C (113 °F). As heat soars north of the border, B.C. and Alberta in Canada are also forecast to experience record-setting heat.

"Even though we’ve had heat waves in June, they haven’t been nearly as strong as this one is forecast to be," said climatologist Larry O'Neill. "Other past exceptional heat waves that we’ve had in the Pacific Northwest– they've all occurred after mid-July."

On Monday, June 28, NWS warned that the "intense, prolonged, and record-breaking heat wave will continue over the Western U.S. through much of this week." 

Above-average temperatures and oppressive heat are expected across the Northeast U.S. early this week, "before the core of the unprecedented heat shifts into interior sections of the region on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 29 and 30)."

"Numerous daily, monthly, and all-time temperature records are forecast. To put it in perspective, today will likely go down in history as the hottest day ever recorded for places such as Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR. This level of heat is extremely dangerous and can be deadly if proper heat safety is not followed."

Meanwhile, Environment Canada issued a heat warning for parts of eastern Ontario, saying excessive heat and humidity will continue through Monday in Brockville, Prescott, Merrickville-Wolford, Kemptville, Cornwall, Morrisburg and Prescott, and Russell

"After a couple warm and humid days, even higher temperatures are expected over the next couple of days."

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​Image credit: Tropical Tidbits, GFS

Featured image credit: Tropical Tidbits, GFS

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