01:03 - Source: CNN
Heat wave threatens Portland, Seattle

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Portland, Oregon, hits 105, two degrees shy of all-time record

Some 9 million are under heat advisories in Pacific Northwest

CNN —  

Sun-baked residents of the Pacific Northwest will get a bit of a break from record-setting heat Friday.

It’s still going to be plenty hot. Temperatures are expected to remain 10 to 15 degrees above normal through the weekend.

Portland, Oregon, on Thursday didn’t quite break its all-time high of 107 degrees (1965 and 1981). But 105 degrees broke a 65-year-old record of 99 for the day, making Thursday the warmest day since 2009.

The forecast for Friday was 96, enough to get this notice from the National Weather Service’s local office: “The hottest part of this heat wave is over. However, it will still be hot enough today for heat-related illnesses to occur, especially considering the cumulative effects of several days of hot weather.”

The heat has made life difficult for people such as Food Front Cooperative Grocery manager Jeff Hough, who told CNN affiliate KPTV that the Portland store’s coolers had been shutting down and it was difficult even to keep the doors closed.

“The front door, the rubber expanded, so it’s not shutting. It got so hot the door won’t shut,” he told the station.

Seattle also broke a daily record. The city reached 94 degrees Thursday, breaking the previous high of 90 from August 3, 1988.

Some 15 million people in the Pacific Northwest are under excessive heat warnings and advisories. That creates “a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible,” the National Weather Service said. Smoke from northwest wildfires hangs over the region, making the situation worse.

Smoke from wildfires has spread a haze over the region, making air quality dangerous for people with asthma or breathing problems. Oregon issued an air pollution advisory effective through Tuesday because of the heat and smoke from the fires.

Commuting is more difficult. The metro area’s public transit system, TriMet, is having service problems because of the heat and computer glitches caused by a system upgrade that went awry, CNN affiliate KATU reported.

TriMet will offer free rides Thursday, but the MAX light rail trains will slow because of excessive heat, and WES commuter train service probably will be suspended Thursday afternoon, with shuttle buses serving WES stations, TriMet said. “Expect major delays,” the transit service said on its website.

Uber and Lyft are offering discounted rides to city cooling centers, KATU reported.

Hot car deaths reached record numbers in July

The heat has settled in over a region where many homes don’t have air conditioning. Only one-third of Seattle residents have it, while Portland’s number is about 70%. Portions of Oregon are a good bit lower.

The heat has settled in over a region where many homes don’t have air conditioning. Only one-third of Seattle residents have it, while Portland’s number is about 70%. Portions of Oregon are a good bit lower.

Deadly heat waves to become more common

Many Portlanders took to social media to document some of the strange and outrageous ways they are keeping cool, including sticking their feet in a cooler of ice.

One Portland library even started offering free water bottles to its patrons – with “no overdue fines!”

CNN

“When it’s 105 degrees, you don’t want to go outside to get ice cream,” said Deb Reitenour, the operations manager. “Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, we are not used to the heat. We can handle rain, but we are not so great with this amount of sun with no break.”

The truck will be back in business on Friday, she said.

CNN’s Carma Hassan, Jessica Suerth and Taylor Ward contributed to this report.