‘Historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented’ heat wave swells over Pacific Northwest

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Contributed date

July 2, 2021 - 6:24am

Critical Commentary

In a record-breaking heat wave that’s swept the Pacific Northwest, The Washington Post has followed the event as it is documented by local newspapers and weather forecasters. This past week, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest have consistently and consecutively broken every heat-record ever documented in the history of the region. Perhaps dangerously evident, this early and devastating June heatwave highlights the climate trends we have so dreaded. Continued pollution on our part has persistently harmed the environment and heatwaves like the current are only testament to that. While worrisome and extremely dangerous, heatwaves like the current are only part of a pattern of increased temperatures that have been witnessed in the past twenty years. Coming summers should be expected to only get warmer, especially if we continue to take slow actions to mitigate climate change. 

Not only is this heat wave worrisome because of its prolonged nature and high temperatures, but because it is a high risk to the health and wellbeing of local residents. Especially considering Seattle, WA is the city with the lowest rate of air conditioning ownership in the region, many are at serious risk of heat related illnesses (heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, etc.). Local news agencies have repeatedly disseminated information packets and advertisements on how to keep cool despite not having central or window air conditioning. Nonetheless, the temperatures are so stark, even these tips could still not be enough to prevent or mitigate the rate of heat-related illnesses in the region. This heatwave is also troublesome because it could bring severe complications and facilitate conditions for fires to initiate and spread later on in the summer season. 


Samenow, Jason and Diana Leonard. (2021, June 26). "‘Historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented’ heatwave swells over Pacific Northwest." The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/06/25/pacific-northwest-heat...

Cite as

Jason Samenow and Diana Leonard, "‘Historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented’ heat wave swells over Pacific Northwest", contributed by Briana Leone, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 2 July 2021, accessed 20 June 2024. https://energyrights.info/content/‘historic-dangerous-prolonged-and-unprecedented’-heat-wave-swells-over-pacific-northwest