Records are going up in flames - is there any break to America's current heat wave?

Jun 28, 2021

2 min

Pamela Grothe

To call it a heat wave may be an understatement. But as June ends and July rolls in, a blanket of hot and humid weather is covering most parts of America with temperatures not seen since the end of the Great Depression.

The trend has scientists and meteorologists looking for answers.

AccuWeather's team of expert forecasters were describing the then upcoming heat wave as "unprecedented," "life-threatening" and "historic" as early as the middle of last week, and these descriptions have been accurate in the first days of the Northwest scorcher.

The weekend marked the beginning of the extended stretch of extreme temperatures. Portland, Oregon, a city that typically experiences temperatures in the middle to upper 70s in late June, soared to a staggering 112 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, breaking the all-time record high of 108 set just a day before. Prior to the current heat wave, the highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 107 set once in July of 1965 and twice in August of 1981.

Portland is also expected to obliterate its daily record high of 100 on Monday and possibly set an all-time high temperature record for the third straight day. AccuWeather is predicting a high of 113 on Monday, which would make it the hottest day ever recorded in the city.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the state of Oregon is 117, which was set in Umatilla on July 27, 1939.  June 28 - AccuWeather

And as Americans keep an eye on the mercury that continues to rise, there’s a lot of questions to be asked:

  • Is this a weather phenomenon?
  • Has climate change showed its hand?
  • Are these new temperatures the new normal for the summer months?
  • How can cities and communities adapt to these drastic conditions?
  • And is there any turning back these rising numbers?

If you’re a journalist looking to learn more about this topic, then our experts are here to help.

Dr. Pamela Grothe is an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences as the University of Mary Washington, who earned a Ph.D. in the Paleoclimatology Lab at the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department at Georgia Institute of Technology. She’s also an #expert in climate change and specializes in how cities can cope and adapt to hotter temperatures and stay livable places.

Dr. Pamela Grothe is available to speak with media – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.

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Pamela Grothe

Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor

Dr. Grothe's research focuses on climate change, specializing in past climates.

OceanographyGlobal WarmingClimate Change Science Atmospheric ScienceGeology

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