After an incredibly dreary spring and early summer, King County is likely going to be hit with a heatwave this weekend with temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees on Sunday, June 26.
According to a special weather statement by the National Weather Service, the upcoming heatwave will pose a moderate risk for heat-related illness to heat-sensitive people and pets.
This upcoming heatwave will occur during the one-year anniversary of the record-setting “heat dome” event that hit the Pacific Northwest in 2021 and claimed 38 lives in King County alone.
Last year’s heatwave was the deadliest climate-related disaster in the region’s history, according to King County.
In preparation for more frequent extreme heatwaves due to climate change, King County is hosting a virtual briefing on June 24. The briefing will feature experts in public health, emergency management and community engagement.
King County and Seattle completed a heat-mapping project in 2021 that found that Kent and Auburn are disproportionately impacted by high temperatures.
The study found that even though the heat was fairly evenly dispersed throughout the county, Kent and Auburn retained the heat longer than other areas. Disproportionate heat retention in Kent and Auburn is partially due to a combination of an abundance of hard surfaces like pavement, which retain heat, and a lack of natural landscapes and tree canopy.
On one afternoon during the heat mapping project, temperatures in Ballard peaked at 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and only 30 miles away in Kent, temperatures reached 96º Fahrenheit, according to King County.
“Those areas in the county that are hotter are typically areas with more pavement and hard surfaces. Those hard surfaces hold on to heat and can amplify local temperatures,” said Lara Whitely Binder, the program manager of King County Climate Preparedness.
The biggest health risk during extreme heat conditions is heat stroke, which if left unattended can be fatal, according to the CDC.
To protect yourself from heat-related illness, the Washington State Department of Health recommends drinking lots of water and staying in an air-conditioned room if possible.
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