People cool off in the Willamette River at Wallace Marine Park on Sunday, July 18. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
This article was updated following the governor's declaration of a state of emergency.
Salem is expected to get another round of hot weather this week, with temperatures forecast to reach more than 100 degrees by Wednesday.
Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday declared a state of emergency ahead of high temperatures. The declaration ensures additional resources are available to respond to issues that arise out of the excessively high forecasted temperatures.
"Oregon is facing yet another extreme heat wave, and it is critical that every level of government has the resources they need to help keep Oregonians safe and healthy," Brown said in a press release on Tuesday. "I encourage Oregonians to take proactive steps to keep themselves and their families safe, including drinking plenty of fluids, taking advantage of cooling centers, and checking in on neighbors, friends, and loved ones."
Salem is expected to reach a high of 105 on Thursday and maybe again on Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Portland. If it does, it will mark the fourth time this year the area has seen a day over 100 degrees and the eleventh time in the last 10 years.
Rebecca Muessle, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said between 1892 and present day, the area has baked in temperatures above 100 degrees just 113 times.
Next week will mark the second time this summer an extended period of hot weather will hang over the mid-Willamette Valley.
In June, temperatures reached 117 — breaking the pre-heat wave record of 108.
Andrew Phelps, Oregon Emergency Management director, said excessive heat conditions must be taken seriously.
“We are asking Oregonians to pull together and prepare for the inevitable effects of high temperatures. Take time now to make a plan to stay cool as temperatures rise – make sure your plan includes connecting with friends, family or neighbors who may be susceptible to extreme heat and offering to help them access the resources they need. The simplest act to help can save lives," Phelps said in a statement released by his agency on Monday.
Salem-Keizer Meals on Wheels provided fans for clients during the last heat wave after drivers checked in asking who had air conditioning and who didn’t.
“This time, we’re having drivers check in and whoever needs a fan we have a couple more left and we’re supposed to be getting some more in,” said Rebecca Bolding, an administrative assistant for the local Meals on Wheels program that currently serves about 700 households.
“We’re trying to make sure everyone is covered in that way,” she said.
The city of Salem is also gearing up for the hot weather, warning residents to stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight if possible and not do heavy labor during the heat of the day.
Additionally, ARCHES Day Center, located at 615 Commercial St. N.E., will be open during normal business hours for people needing refuge from the heat. It will have hydration resources outside.
Residents headed to the Willamette River to cool off can utilize the life jacket loaner stations at Wallace Marine Park.
The forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for a high Tuesday of 93 before the area breaks 100 on Wednesday. Thursday is slated to reach 105 and Friday expected to see 103 degrees.
Portland General Electric announced on Tuesday that it was preparing for high electricity demand ahead of the heat wave and would be actively monitoring the weather and preparing its system to perform.
According to a statement from the company, high-tech infrared monitoring of distribution operations would be used to alert PGE to potential issues before they led to power outages.
Extra cooling systems, the statement said, were also on standby.
“PGE urges customers to be prepared for the high heat and potential power outages,” the statement said, noting that customers could report outages by logging into their account or calling 800-544-1795.
The Oregon Health Authority provided tips on Monday about preventing heat-related illnesses which can be found here.
People can also contact 211 for information on cooling center locations, hours and transportation to the centers, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services. Dial 211 and wait for the prompt to find hot weather-related resources, including a list of cooling centers by county. The 211 service will keep its prompt operating 24/7 for the rest of summer. Cooling center information is also available at 211info.org.
Correction: This article originally listed the incorrect record temperature for June 2021. Salem Reporter regrets the error.
Contact reporter Caitlyn May at [email protected].
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