Image source: Reuters
On Sunday, Seattle and Portland recorded the most consecutive days of high temperatures, prompting authorities to investigate more possible heat-related deaths.
Oregon and Seattle
The state Medical Examiner’s Office said it was investigating ten deaths, believing the cause to be heat-related.
On Sunday, temperatures rose to 91 degrees by early afternoon in Seattle, a record sixth consecutive day above 90.
In the Portland area, temperatures rose above 100 degrees several times in the last week.
Officials said they would keep cooling shelters open through Sunday night.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for Portland and Seattle regions that lasted through late Sunday evening.
They expected temperatures to cool on Monday with cold air blowing in from the Pacific.
Along the northwest, residents and officials have been attempting to adjust the reality of longer, hotter heat waves after last year’s “heat dome” weather phenomenon, which prompted record temperatures and deaths.
In late June and early July last year, over 800 people died in Oregon, Washington, and Canada’s British Columbia.
The temperature also hit an all-time high in Portland with 116 degrees.
How to survive the heat wave without air-conditioning
The high temperatures can be unbearable, and while an air-conditioner may seem like the immediate solution, there are other ways to get through.
Below are some measures people can take to get by the heat wave.
Eliminate extra heat sources
With how hot it already is, heat can be reduced by turning off incandescent light bulbs, which generates unnecessary heat.
Minimizing computers and appliance use also helps. Additionally, eating meals that don’t require the oven or stove can remove extra heat in homes.
It’s important to consume more water than usual when it’s hot, especially when sweating excessively.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
While it is important to hydrate, caffeine and alcoholic beverages act as diuretics and promote dehydration.
Use box fans and ceiling fans
Opening doors and windows help air come in, but it also invites hot air from the outside. Using box fans and ceiling fans can help push the hot air out and draw cooler air in.
However, it’s best to close the doors and windows early into the day to keep the indoor air cool.
Once it gets cooler out, it’ll be safe to open the windows and turn the fans on again.
Go out for a walk in cool areas
Although the heat can be unbearable, it’s worth breaking a few sweats to walk into places with air-conditioning (shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries).
Cool off with water
Hydrating is one thing, but drenching oneself in water is another.
Showers are one thing, but people can also fill buckets or basins with enough water to soak ones’ feet in.
People can also opt for wet towels or bandanas, giving them a cooling effect.
The high temperature isn’t just affecting people, it’s also affecting animals.
People with pets should consider how hot the ground is before taking their pets out for a walk.
But even indoors, heat is inescapable.
Pet owners can put a cool towel or washcloth on the floor or on top of a fan to cool the animal.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.