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Cooler temps ahead

06:05 PM PDT on Sunday, July 23, 2006

KING5.com Staff and Wire Reports

SEATTLE - It was another very hot day in Western Washington, with the mercury hitting 99 at Sea-Tac Sunday.

A high-pressure area is circulating very slowly in the Northwest, which means the air is "sinking and warming as it moves into the area and it's just staying there," said KING 5 meteorologist Mary Loos.

An onshore flow that's moving in will bring temperatures down slightly, and Monday's temperatures should drop to the mid 80s, she said.

East of the Cascades, afternoon temperatures once again climbed above 100 degrees throughout the Columbia basin and vicinity where a heat advisory remained in effect. The mercury hit 110 in the Tri-Cities.

For Seattle resident Derrick Balch, the last two days were the worst. He may live in the city's hottest apartment. Three of his walls are solid concrete and the fourth faces the setting sun and has two stories of windows.

He's even tried using the oven fan for circulation but that doesn't work very well.

"It's just dead air, it doesn't move between the bottom floor and the top floor," he said.

He said his dog Holly's water bowl evaporates before you know it.

Balch is moving next week because his lease will not allow an air conditioner.

"No AC in this building, it's a LEED building so it's a green building and no AC."

Even if you want to buy an air conditioning unit these days, they’re hard to find at home improvement stories right now.But one father-to-be was able to snag one over the weekend  

“With a pregnant wife at home due in two days, to to do it,” he said.

With the lingering heat wave there are crucial reminders not to leave children and pets inside vehicles, even with the windows open. Some experts say opening those windows knocks down the temperature by only five or 10 degrees, still making it possibly dangerously hot in an enclosed car or truck.

Temperatures are still expected to be above normal through Tuesday but not as hot as this weekend. High pressure will build briefly over the region Wednesday and Thursday before cooler air moves in for next weekend.

Record temperatures

The Northwest cooled down a bit Saturday after record high temperatures were recorded in four cities Friday - all of them west of the Cascades. Seattle posted a record high of 97, breaking the old mark of 94 set in 1994. Olympia's 100 degrees broke a 1994 record of 96. Vancouver's 104 edged out the 103 degrees recorded back in 1938. And at Hoquiam, a 90-degree reading bumped the old record of 89 set in 1980.

Temperature records for Vancouver, one of the oldest cities on the West Coast, have been kept since 1850. Data for the other cities has only been collected since the 1940s or later.

Temperatures over 100 degrees were also recorded at several Eastern Washington points Friday, but no records were broken there.

In such heat, the primary concerns are heart attack, stroke and respiratory illnesses. Older people and young children are particularly vulnerable.

Smog watch in effect

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a smog watch for King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The agency says high pressure will trap stagnant air close to the ground, creating problems for some people with breathing problems.

Some areas have banned most outdoor fires because of the risk of wildfire.

Air quality is expected to decline as high pressure builds over the area. The highest concentrations of smog happen when sunlight "cooks" emissions from motor vehicles, paints, solvents and gasoline vapors.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency recommends the following tips to minimize pollution during the hot temperatures:

-Carpool or ride the bus to work, events and outings.

-If you must drive, use your most fuel-efficient car, combine errands into one trip and turn off your engine when idling for more than 30 seconds.

-Refuel vehicles in the cooler evening hours, don't top off your tank, and be careful not to spill any fuel.

-Skip gasoline-powered yard work. Use manual or electric equipment instead.

Know about dangers

Whether you decide to spend the next few days outdoors in the sun or inside with air-conditioning, there are some dangers you need to know about.

As temperatures heat up, so does the fire danger.

The hot weather also has the health department investigating an outbreak of shellfish illnesses. The outbreak has prompted health officials to shut down five commercial and recreational shellfish beds along the Hood Canal.

And on Whidbey Island, the health department warns not to swim in Lone Lake where a toxic algae bloom can be deadly to animals and cause health problems for people.

Hot weather tips from the CDC

-Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level.

-Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

-Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. (Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.)

-Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

-Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:

-Infants and young children

-People aged 65 or older

-People who have a mental illness

-Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

If you must be out in the heat:

-Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

-Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.

-Try to rest often in shady areas.

-Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their label).

Keep pets cool during heat

-Keep water bowls full of cool, fresh water.

-Provide shaded areas for pet to rest in.

-Use a misting hose to provide a cool area for a pet while outside.

-Use a "kiddy pool" for dogs to splash and play in.

-Exercise in the cool of the morning or at dusk, not during heat of the day.

-Do not leave pets unattended outside. When it gets too hot bring pets inside.

-Leave your pet at home when you are running errands.

-If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, immediately immerse or spray with cool running water - not cold water as that could cause shock. Continue until body temperature lowers. Give your pet water to drink and consult your veterinarian right away to determine if additional treatment is needed.



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