Record temps may be headed our way
An “unusual, early season” heat wave could bring temperatures as high as 106 degrees to Quincy this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
A hazardous weather outlook was issued by the NWS on Monday morning through Sunday for North Central Washington and Eastern Washington.
“There is a very strong ridge of higher pressure building. At the end of June, beginning of July, this is common, but to this degree it’s a little abnormal,” forecaster Bob Tobin told the Wenatchee World on Monday. “There are some places where records really are going to be broken.”
The record temperature for June 27 is 98 degrees in 1998 in Quincy and 101 degrees in 2006 in Ephrata, forecaster Greg Koch said. Temperatures are expected to reach 105 degrees Saturday in Quincy.
The record temperature for June 28 is 97 degrees in 1997 in Quincy and 99 degrees in 1987 in Ephrata, Koch said. Temperatures are expected to reach 106 degrees Sunday in Quincy.
And the record temperature for June 29 is 100 degrees in 1948 in Quincy and 103 degrees in 2008 in Ephrata, Koch said. Temperatures are expected to reach 102 degrees Monday in Quincy.
“We may cool down a few degrees early next week but we’re still going to have much hotter than normal temperatures for the next seven to 10 days,” Koch said.
The high temperatures are a concern to many emergency departments this weekend because of the upcoming Paradiso music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre. Some 25,000 concert-goers are expected to attend each day of the two-day festival, which begins on Friday.
On Tuesday, the Washington Poison Center issued an alert to all Central and Eastern Washington emergency departments, warning that the electronic dance music festival was planned for this weekend.
“Recently, fatal drug overdoses have occurred at or around similar EDM events in the area, despite a strict no-use policy from event organizers,” the poison center’s alert stated.
The Grant County Health District was using the Washington Poison Center’s alerts on its social media outlets to remind concert-goers that drug and alcohol use, combined with extreme temperatures, can increase the chances of dehydration and heat stroke.
At the Quincy Valley Medical Center, officials there were also preparing for the weekend. The hospital is in contact with the Gorge’s onsite medical services CrowdRx, and the Gorge is working on putting out more rehydration stations for concert-goers, said Alicia Shields, chief nursing officer at the hospital.
“We are hoping that people just stay really hydrated out there,” Shields said.
“We’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Chief Don Fortier of Grant County Fire District No. 3. The district, which relies heavily on volunteers, will be fully staffed this weekend and through the summer, Fortier said.
It seems the extreme temperatures in the past not only cause dehydration but also magnify other health issues people may experience, Fortier said.
“This concert in the past has always been a challenge for us any way,” Fortier said.
The NWS also is starting to investigate the potential for thunderstorms moving over the Cascade Mountains and through the area beginning Saturday evening, with a higher chance of thunderstorms into Sunday, Koch added.
Koch also urged local residents to rethink their July 4th plans. Personal fireworks shows should be avoided this year, he said.
“This year is much more volatile than we’ve seen in a long time,” Koch said.
Because of the volatile conditions, Grant County on Wednesday also issued a ban on all outdoor burning until future notice. A burn ban already exists in all cities in Grant County.
The county ban does not affect fires at campgrounds in fire pits or agricultural burning, such as the burning of field crop residue and orchard tear out residue, provided the burning is permitted by the state Department of Ecology.
With the hot, dry, arid conditions, and a heavy load of dry grass and sage brush throughout the county, officials are anticipating new wildfires to ignite, a county press release states.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org