This year’s summer has been unusually gloomy, but that’s about to change. According to the National Weather Service, a heat wave will be rolling into the Seattle area on Thursday, with highs expected to be in the upper 80s or low 90s. The stretch of unusually hot days is expected to last from Thursday to Saturday. Meteorologists are predicting a slow cool-down on Sunday and a return to highs in the 80s after that.
Predictions for the upcoming heat wave are reaching or even surpassing records for temperature highs set in previous years. While cities across the country are experiencing highs in the 100s, Seattle’s normally cool climate means that residents may be less equipped to deal with the heat.
How to stay safe during an Excessive Heat Watch
- Plan ahead. If your apartment or home isn’t air conditioned–and many aren’t in the Seattle area–buy a fan or a portable air conditioner as soon as possible. If you live in a small space, prop a box fan in your window to keep the air circulating. Fans may sell out as the heat gets worse, so get yours soon.
- Drink extra water. If you’re planning on hiking, camping, or working outdoors, bring extra water or make sure you’re close to a source of drinking water. Dehydration can be a major problem in the heat.
- Check for fires. If you plan on camping this weekend, make sure you know whether the area is under a fire warning or watch. Before setting a campfire or setting off fireworks, make sure you’re not in an area currently under a burn ban. A list of resources for campers and people who live in areas with a risk of wildfires can be found here.
- Dress appropriately. Light-colored, light-weight clothes that fit loosely are the best way to deflect heat and keep air circulating near the skin.
- Check your car. Make sure pets and children aren’t accidentally left in a hot car, even for a short period of time. Within minutes, the sealed interior of a car left in the sun during an Excessive Heat Watch can reach dangerous temperatures.
- Wear sunscreen or cover your face and shoulders. After a gloomy spring and summer, most Seattleites are going to be extra vulnerable to a sudden period of intense sunniness and heat. Even if you don’t see visible redness or feel pain, you may be damaging your skin.
- Cool down in the water. Can’t get to a beach? Try a cold shower or a bath if you start feeling the effects of the heat.
- Find a place with air conditioning. Children and the elderly may be particularly vulnerable during the hottest parts of the day. Consider a trip to a mall, movie theater, or library during the hottest hours of the afternoon.
Image source: The Center for Disease Control