(AP) — Utility workers and wildlife managers across the Pacific Northwest were trying to keep people and animals safe Saturday as a historic heatwave scorched the region, toppling records and sending residents searching for relief.

Stores sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, hospitals canceled outdoor vaccination clinics, cities opened cooling centers, baseball teams canceled or moved up weekend games, and utilities braced for possible power outages.

Portland, Oregon, had the hottest day ever recorded — reaching 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for Oregon’s largest city was 107 F (41.7 C), a mark hit in 1965 and 1981.


Seattle reached 101 F (38.3), making it the hottest June day on record and only the fourth time in recorded history the usually temperate city had topped 100 degrees. Other cities and towns from eastern Washington state to southern Oregon were also expected to break records, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out up to 30 degrees above normal.

It’s a dangerous forecast for a region accustomed to mild weather, and where many don’t have air conditioning. James Bryant, a Seattle resident, picked up an air conditioner in anticipation of the extreme heat.

“My house is already hot, and so with the added heat over the next few days, I’ve got kids. I got to make sure they don’t get too hot as well,” Bryant said. “It seems to be a trend … So I’m not sure what’s driving it, but it’s not fun, that’s for sure.” The hot weather had berry farmers scrambling to pick crops before they rot on the vine and fisheries managers working to keep endangered sockeye salmon safe from too-warm river water. READ MORE

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