Extreme heat is still expected to blanket the Willamette Valley the rest of this week, but it may be just shy of record breaking.
Shifting winds overnight brought smoke into the valley from a wildfire burning near Mount Jefferson as well as fires in British Columbia, Canada.
David Bishop, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, said the smoke has caused meteorologists to tweak their forecasts.
“Our forecasted high temperatures have dropped by about a degree to two because of the smoke in the area,” he said. “So yesterday our forecasted highs were in the 107 range; today they’re sitting at more 105 and 106 for the Willamette Valley.”
Forecasters expect temperatures in the Willamette Valley to drop to the 90s this weekend. The Portland metro area’s high was 107 degrees in 1981.
Beating The Heat
Around the region, cities and counties are taking measures to address the extreme heat.
The City of Medford — where temperatures could reach 113 degrees on Wednesday — said it’s reminding public works employees who spend much of the day outside to hydrate and take breaks. Officials say the city’s public works staff start around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. during summer months to avoid the hot afternoon weather.
Last night, Multnomah County opened three cooling shelters: two in Portland and one in Gresham. Across the three shelters, more than 70 people showed up between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“And because of that intense interest — our cooling centers have never had more than 20 people when we’ve had excessive heat — we’re looking now at opening maybe one or two more,” said Jaquetta White, a spokeswoman for Multnomah County.
White said libraries and community centers are also good places to spend the day to get out of the extreme heat.