26 June 2021


As those who follow the news may have heard, we're about to get an unprecedented heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest.  Here in Portland, the current forecast is for highs of 103°, 110°, and 110° for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, then dropping to the range of 88° to 95° for the rest of the week.  This is actually less bad than was expected earlier -- I saw a forecast a few days ago that had Sunday at 117°.

It's going to be worse further inland in Oregon, where some places are forecast to be well above 100° for the entire week, maybe longer.

I'm not worried for myself.  I've been through days reaching close to 110° before, though not this early in the year.  This apartment is well insulated and there are things I can do to minimize the heat inside.  We've been told, though, that it's possible the electricity could fail due to excess demand from air conditioning.  So if, say, the link round-up doesn't appear at the usual time, that's probably what happened (it will just be posted late).  I imagine restoring power in the metro area will be a priority, since elderly people whose air conditioning suddenly fails at such temperatures will be in mortal danger.

I do wonder what the rest of the summer will be like, though, if we're already getting a heat wave like this in June.  The fire season is now expected to be even worse than last year -- when at one point the smoke got so thick that my view of the building across the street was substantially obscured, even though the nearest fire was twenty miles away.  I'd hate to be spending the next few months in the southwest, especially in Texas with its (as we now know) frail power grid.  It's getting harder and harder for the remaining global-warming denialists to sustain their faith.


Blogger NickM said...

If it's anything like England has been this year I wouldn't bet that a hot late June means a really hot August. What has been very odd here is that it has just been weird - we had frost about two weeks ago! And hail. At one point I swear we received all types of precipitation simultaneously!

PS - I had to convert your figures into "real money". Is there a reason the USA has never gone metric? It's just you, Liberia and Myanmar left. And Myanmar is transitioning.

26 June, 2021 04:07  
Blogger Jack said...

That is pretty hot for Portland. Even though we have known about climate change for some time, it seems like we were determined to be caught unprepared for rising temperatures. We've neglected our critical infrastructure for so long that we have ensured there will be plenty of suffering due to an inadequate power grid in many areas. We keep hearing about the move toward electric vehicles, but I am curious to see how that is going to work for those of us who live in areas that are not willing to provide residents with reliable electricity.

26 June, 2021 04:55  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

We've got the same heat wave here in western Canada. Stay cool, man!

26 June, 2021 05:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nick: I hope that turns out to be the case. Our area's weather is somewhat like England's, though warmer (summers are hotter and snow rather rarer). Why have we never gone metric? Cultural inertia, being such a large country that dealing with other countries doesn't loom very large in most people's thinking, a feeling that metric is "foreign" and therefore not as good (superpowers tend to develop an attitude that "we have nothing to learn from anybody else"). It's frustrating. There are parts of this antiquated system I still haven't really mastered, and doing math with it is a mess. I hope we'll adopt metric eventually.

Jack: I think in some parts of the country (though not here) Republicans have even passed laws banning localities from taking global-warming projections into account in their future planning. I don't know if the infrastructure shortcomings will really be addressed until we have a really massive death toll from a heat wave somewhere. I hope the Democrats can get something into the current infrastructure bill, though.

Debra: Doing all I can! My place isn't bad at the moment, but of course it's not even 9:00 AM yet here.

26 June, 2021 08:40  
Blogger Jimmy T said...

John Tyndal was the first physicist to describe how CO2 emissions would affect the atmosphere, that was more than 160 years ago. We have learned nothing about remediation since then, but when the profit motive takes precedence over the health and welfare of the planet and its people this should be expected. In the 1970's there were reports published by the oil industry better defining the problem. Yet we still did nothing. Now consequences have caught up with us, and we still do nothing...

26 June, 2021 08:50  
Blogger jenny_o said...

Oh, man . . . I feel for you. The heat is a real concern for me in our increasingly hot summers, as I do not tolerate it at all well - nausea progressing to fainting is my usual reaction. Don't forget that if all else fails, putting a wet towel around your neck is one way to cool yourself. I hope this is an anomaly for your area for this year.

26 June, 2021 09:16  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jimmy: Actually a huge amount has been done, and is being done. The transition to non-fossil-fuel energy is well under way all over the world, even if the US has been largely AWOL in the fight for the last four years. Yes, we got started later than we should have, and right-wing ideology in the US (and the oil companies) have fought tooth and nail to sabotage progress, but it's simply not true that nothing is being done.

Jenny_o: I appreciate your concern, and I'll keep the towel trick in mind. Still doing OK here. I have a couple of rooms that don't get sun and are staying cooler, and my windows face east, so they won't be in direct sunlight after noon. So far so good.

26 June, 2021 10:26  
Blogger Jimmy T said...

Infidel753: I admit that there is a substantial effort underway to remediate the worst of global warming. A good friend of mine opened a solar install business well before it became a thing, but I'm unsure as to whether the ongoing effort is scaled up enough to make a difference, or even if a maximal effort would or could reverse the course we're traveling upon. I am typically an optimist, but recent events both in climate theory and political willpower made re-examine my optimism. Joe Biden may be our best chance to achieve a lasting solution, but he will never be helped by the GQP. Maybe some of the GQP states will become hot enough for their political leadership to change course. We really need a unified effort, but I don't see that happening...

26 June, 2021 13:23  
Blogger Mike said...

I think the global-warming denialists will die before admitting defeat.

26 June, 2021 14:14  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Hopefully the power doesn't fail. I always worry about that here in Vegas as well. I keep ice packs in the freezer all Summer just in case the power goes out for longer than an hour so I can keep some of the stuff in my fridge cool for a while.

26 June, 2021 15:27  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jimmy: Always remember that it's a global problem being addressed by a global effort. What happens within the US is only a small part of the total picture.

Mike: Some will, but their numbers have been decreasing over time, so obviously some are coming around.

Mary: I shudder to think what the summers in Las Vegas must be like. Good idea about the ice packs.

26 June, 2021 22:56  
Blogger Richard said...

Shade up. You don't need to prove anything. Look and see what these heat waves have done. You will be ok. I live in Mojave desert for 40 years. You don't need to be tough. You need to not be dead. It is hard for me to imagine your circumstances.
Go to the park. Go to the basement. Go to the library or town hall. Remember that you are not in Phoenix or Las Vegas,
homeless and sleeping under a bridge.
I am not laughing at you, i am not making light of your sorrow. 103 or 105 is too hot.

27 June, 2021 01:27  

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