Portland, Oregon set an all-time high of 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius) on Sunday, as the Pacific Northwest struggles through a severe heat wave.
The extreme heat in Portland, Oregon’s largest city, forced many restaurants and bars to close.
Within the Portland area, 11 emergency cooling shelters were opened, largely in public libraries, where residents without air conditioning could escape the heat.
“This is life-threatening heat,” county health officer Jennifer Vines said in a statement.
Also, Governor Kate Brown reduced COVID-19 crowd restrictions for theaters, swimming pools and shopping malls due to the heat wave. Pools were crowded on Sunday, among those seeking to cool off, and even public fountains saw people standing under the falling water.
The National Weather Service has forecast temperatures to reach 30 degrees above normal in parts of Oregon and Washington state. Because of the area’s temperate climate, most homes and businesses do not have air conditioning.
Weather officials have attributed the extreme heat to an atmospheric high pressure dome over the upper U.S. Northwest and Canada.
Excessive-heat warnings were also issues for Idaho, California and Nevada.
In Portland, stores were sold out of air conditioners and fans, and even bags of ice were hard to come by.
Some of Portland’s restaurant districts saw no customers on Sunday, as many restaurants had closed.
“The dining room might be comfortable, but the kitchen can reach dangerous conditions,” said Dave Bortelo, owner of the Haymaker bar and grill, which had closed during the heat wave, as quoted by Reuters.
Also, some companies with air conditioning remained open for employees wishing to escape the heat.
The daytime high in Portland reached a searing 112 degrees F (44.5 degrees Celsius), the hottest temperature since daily record keeping began in 1940, according to the National Weather Service.
In nearby Seattle, Washington an all-time record high of 104 degrees F, surpassing a 2009 record of 103 degrees, was set on Sunday.
The heat wave was expected to ease by Tuesday.