PUBLIC SAFETY

Record-breaking heat wave to last through Tuesday

Salem’s record-breaking heat wave will be sticking around a few more days, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service, which has issued an excessive heat warning through Tuesday night.

Highs of 103 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday broke daytime records set in 1945 and 1960 for July 5, 6 and 7. On Tuesday, the forecast high will be 105 degrees.

The hot temperatures are caused by an omega block, said David Bishop, a meteorologist for the agency’s Portland branch. It’s like a bunch of linebackers at the top of a horseshoe-shaped weather system, forcing lower pressure systems to move around them.

That forces air down onto the region while heating it up, because of a large volume of air being compressed into a smaller space.

“Imagine like all the air is just being pushed down toward the surface of the earth. So when you push air particles down from the top of the atmosphere towards the surface, they warm,” Bishop said.

An incoming low-pressure system is expected to move those linebackers later this week, leading to lower temperatures. There’s a high of 94 degrees forecast for Wednesday and a high of 90 degrees on Thursday.

Cooling resources

Between Thursday and Sunday, street outreach teams with The ARCHES Project provided services to 850 people throughout Salem, Woodburn and Mill City, including distributing water, Gatorade, hygiene and pet supplies, according to Robert Marshall, grants and development specialist.

Their teams will continue to deploy throughout Marion and Polk counties between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. while temperatures stay over 90 degrees, Marshall said.

The ARCHES Day Center, which gives people a place to cool off in air conditioning, was used 437 times from Thursday to Sunday. The shelter expanded its hours due to the heat, and will continue to operate when temperatures stay over 95.

No suspected heat-related deaths have been reported in Marion County since the heat wave began, Chuck Funrue, a county medical legal investigator said Monday afternoon. Four suspected heat deaths have been reported in Multnomah County.

See where to cool off in Salem here:

Health tips

Staying hydrated, cool and planning ahead is essential for safety, said Kate Landen, medical director for the Salem Hospital Emergency Department in a statement to Salem Reporter.

She recommends misting with cool water, and cool compresses on arms and legs. 
“It is important to know where your local cooling stations are located and check on the elderly or disabled frequently,” Landen said.

Symptoms of serious heat illness vary, but she said to seek emergency medical care if “you or someone you are checking on develops severe muscle cramps, excessive thirst, throbbing headache, vomiting, confusion, fainting, or loss of consciousness.”

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-575-1251

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.

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