India Crypto Exchange

Best Bitcoin Trading Platform

Tag Archive : Fahrenheit

Historic heat wave blasts Pacific Northwest as wildfire risks soar

PORTLAND: The Pacific Northwest sweltered on Friday and braced for even hotter weather through the weekend as a historic heat wave hit Washington and Oregon, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out up to 30 degrees above normal.

The extreme and dangerous heat was expected to break all-time records in cities and towns from eastern Washington state to Portland to southern Oregon as concerns mounted about wildfire risk in a region that is already experiencing a crippling and extended drought.

Seattle was expected to edge above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) over the weekend and in Portland, Oregon, weather forecasters said the thermometer could soar to 108 F (42 degree Celsius) by Sunday, breaking an all-time record of 107 F (42 degree Celsius) set in 1981. Unusually hot weather was expected to extend into next week for much of the region.

Seattle has only hit 100 F three times in recorded history, the National Weather Service said, and there was a chance it could eclipse the record of 103 F (39 C) on Monday.

“If you’re keeping a written list of the records that will fall, you might need a few pages by early next week,” NWS Seattle tweeted, as it announced that the city had already tied a record Friday for the highest morning-low temperature.

The extremely hot weather comes a week after a heat wave in the intermountain West broke records from Montana to Arizona.

The Northwest heat wave sent residents scrambling in a region accustomed to mild summers where many people don’t have air conditioning. Stores sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, some hospitals canceled outdoor vaccination clinics, cities opened cooling centers, baseball teams canceled or moved up weekend games, and utilities braced for possible power outages.

Washington governor Jay Inslee lifted Covid-19 capacity restrictions on publicly owned or operated and non-profit cooling centers in light of the heat. Capacity is currently limited to 50% until the state fully reopens next Wednesday. And in Oregon, governor Kate Brown suspended capacity limits for movie theaters and shopping malls – places with air-conditioning – as well as swimming pools ahead of a statewide reopening on Wednesday.

According to 2019 figures from the US Census Bureau, Seattle has the lowest rate of air-conditioned homes of any major American city. Only 44% of the homes in the metro area have air conditioning. In the Portland metro area, that figure was 79%.

At a hardware store in Seattle, about a dozen people lined up before opening hoping to snag an air conditioning unit. A worker opened the door at 8am with bad news: there were only three units.

One of the lucky buyers was Sarah O’Sell, who was worried for her cat amid predictions of triple digits.

“Unfortunately, we’re starting to see this year after year,” said O’Sell, who used a dolly to transport her new unit to her nearby apartment. “We’re going to be like California, and that’s going to be desert down there. It’s only going to get hotter.”

The sweltering temperatures expected on the final weekend of the US Olympic Track and Field trials in Eugene, Oregon, also prompted USA Track and Field to reschedule several weekend events to times earlier in the day to avoid the peak heat.

The Portland Pickles, the city’s semi-professional baseball team, offered weekend tickets for $1.11 – the possible high on Sunday – to keep people in the stands. And families lined up in the beating sun for ice cream and a few precious hours at community pools still operating under capacity restrictions due to Covid-19.

Sara Stathos was selling ice cream from inside an air-conditioned food truck in Portland and said the business would shut down over the weekend because the ice cream “basically melts as we hand it to customers” in such hot weather.

“We don’t want people standing out in the sun, waiting and getting sick,” she said.

The extended “heat dome” was a taste of the future for the Pacific Northwest as climate change reshapes weather patterns worldwide, said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its effects on public health.

“We know from evidence around the world that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves. We’re going to have to get used to this going forward. Temperatures are going up, and extreme temperatures are going up even faster,” she said.

“I tell my students when they get to be as old as I am, they’re going to look back and think about how nice the summers used to be.”

The heat is also worrisome for the region because warm air sucks moisture out of the soil and vegetation more efficiently than cooler air and that makes everything more prone to fire, she said.

Oregon in particular was devastated by an unusually intense wildfire season last fall that torched about 1 million acres (404,685 hectares), burned more than 4,000 homes and killed nine people. Several fires are already burning around the Pacific Northwest, and much of the region is already in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.

Fire crews were being positioned ahead of time in areas where fire risk was high. Counties and cities across the region enacted burn bans – in some cases even temporarily prohibiting personal fireworks for the July 4 holiday weekend.

Mask-free and ‘low risk’, Italy welcomes milestone

All of Italy became a mask-free, “low-risk” zone for coronavirus Monday, marking a dramatic milestone for the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic in February 2020.

In a decree that took effect Monday, the health ministry for the first time classified each of Italy’s 20 regions as “white”, signifying low risk, under the country’s colour-coded classification system that evaluates Covid-19 risk.

That means facemasks will no longer be compulsory in outdoor areas — welcome news across the country where an ongoing heatwave is expected to push temperatures past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some southern areas this week.

Once a symbol of the coronavirus crisis in the West — where images of army trucks transporting coffins from the overflowing morgue in the northern city of Bergamo were seen around the world — Italy has seen Covid-19 infections and deaths plummet in recent weeks.

A third of Italy’s population over the age of 12 has been vaccinated as of Sunday, or 17,572,505 people, according to the government.

Long prohibited from entering the country, tourists from the European Union, Britain, the United States, Canada and Japan are now back after the government removed a quarantine requirement for vaccinated visitors, or those who test negative.

Despite the progress, Health Minister Roberto Speranza urged Italians to be vigilant.

“It’s an encouraging result, but caution and prudence is still needed, especially because of the new variants,” Speranza wrote, after signing the ordinance Saturday. “The battle is not yet won.”

After a long period beginning in November of full or partial regional lockdowns to combat a second wave of coronavirus infections, restrictions were relaxed all over Italy late last month. The entire country was made a “yellow zone”, which brought more freedoms but maintained an overnight curfew that shortened restaurant hours.

As the government gradually eliminated the restrictions over the course of June, the lone holdout, until Monday, was the Aosta Valley, the small alpine region in the northwest.

In Italy, more 127,000 people have died of Covid-19-related complications, while more than four million people have been infected.