Seattle officials call for caution in ‘unprecedented’ heat wave to escalate
With the scorching heat wave Seattle expected to reach even higher highs in the coming days, city officials are urging precautions and advising residents to look to the city’s resources and activities to stay safe and cool.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning on Thursday, with temperatures expected to exceed 100 degrees on Sunday and hit an all-time high of 104 degrees on Monday.
“This is an unprecedented event,” meteorologist Reid Wolcott told a press briefing on Thursday. “[We] I have never seen such forecast data before. “
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city will open additional cooling centers, parks, beaches and an overnight shelter this weekend. Authorities will activate its downtown emergency operations center to monitor events and coordinate services with King County, she said.
She also urged employers to limit outdoor work and residents to check on neighbors and the elderly.
“We will have to take care of our families, our communities and each other,” said Durkan. “It’s going to require that we all work together. “
More than 40 facilities will open across the city this weekend, including 13 branches of the Seattle Public Library, senior centers and community centers, which will have water and air conditioning. Outside, spray parks, supervised beaches, wading pools and public swimming pools will also be open.
Masks and social distancing will be required in municipal library branches, regardless of vaccination status. Opening hours for libraries, senior centers, parks and swimming pools vary over the weekend. A complete list facilities with opening times can be found at Seattle.gov.
The Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion will open as a 24-hour emergency shelter with a capacity of 73 people, for the homeless from Saturday morning to Tuesday morning. Meals will be provided. The exhibition hall homeless shelter and several day centers will also remain open.
The city’s homeless outreach team will conduct social assistance checks and provide water, supplies and transportation to shelters, said Durkan.
Most city services – including pop-up COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites – will not be affected by the heatwave, but Seattle utilities will close the city’s north and south transfer stations to self-transport early, at 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday to protect staff.
Seattle City Light manager Michelle Vargo said utilities in the area are coordinating as increased energy use is expected over the next few days. “We think at this point that we should be able to get through this event with the resources we have here in Seattle,” she said.
The garbage collection will be moved one hour earlier on Monday morning; Monday customers must take out their garbage by 6 a.m.
Wolcott said residents can expect slight relief early next week when temperatures drop below triple digits. But high temperatures are still expected until the weekend of July 4, and authorities are urging people to forgo the fireworks.
“The risk of fire is great. … It can endanger our power lines, then if our electricity is cut, it will make it even more dangerous for people, ”said Durkan. “We really ask people to be smart.”