Temperatures hit the mid-90s over the weekend amid a strong high pressure system that swept through Western Washington.
The system will bring temperatures in the mid- to high-90s on Sunday, Aug. 16. Temperatures will be in the 80s on the Saturday before (Aug. 15) and the Monday after (Aug. 17). Throughout the rest of the week, temperatures are projected to cool to the lower 80s.
While there have been hot days this year, notably in July, when mercury was pushed past the 90 degree mark, they’ve all been one-offs.
“We haven’t had a long, extended heat wave, or anything like that, which we do get some years,” said Gary Schneider, a forecaster with the Seattle National Weather Service.
July is the hottest month on average for Puget Sound, but August clocks in as a close second. Average temperatures tend to trend down through August, before cooling for fall in September.
This hot blast has the state’s Department of Natural Resources on high alert.
The season so far hasn’t been as dire as originally projected, a spokesperson for the department said. In the spring, they were projecting a more severe drought in many areas of the state. But higher levels of precipitation in July headed off much of the anticipated wildfires.
As of Aug. 14, there had been 662 wildfires on Department of Natural Resources lands in Washington state. These blazes had consumed some 6,600 acres. Of these, 213 fires were started by people burning debris.
But with dry weather this month, firefighting agencies are worried about an influx of new wildfires.
“We’re starting to see that those hyper-dry conditions. Fine fuels being in a place where any kind of spark is going to set them off,” the DNR spokesperson said.
People are being asked to avoid high risk activities that could spark a fire. That includes burning debris and leaving campfires unattended, or burning much of anything.
King County Public Health reports that older adults, young children and those with mental illness and chronic disease are at highest risk of developing heat-related illness. But young and healthy people can suffer heat stroke or other conditions if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
Public Health recommends spending more time indoors, and especially in places with air conditioning. Windows that get morning or afternoon sun should be covered. Dressing in light clothes is advised.
A cool shower or bath, or even a cool washcloth, can help lower body temperatures. Drinking water, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar can help keep people hydrated.