An excessive heat warning by the National Weather Service is in effect for Canby and the greater Portland metro area through Thursday this week, with dangerously hot conditions and temperatures of 98 to 103 predicted.
And, early Tuesday, Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in 25 Oregon counties, including Clackamas, due to the extreme heat.
The hottest temperatures are expected Tuesday and Wednesday, with some “considerable uncertainty” predicting temperatures for Thursday. Overnight lows will span 65 to 70 — providing little relief for those without air conditioning.
In a press release, the governor’s office warned high temperatures may impact critical infrastructure, causing utility outages and transportation disruptions.
“With many parts of Oregon facing a high heat wave, it is critical that every level of government has the resources they need to help keep Oregonians safe and healthy,” said Brown.
“I encourage everyone to take proactive steps to keep themselves and their families safe, including drinking plenty of fluids, taking advantage of cooling centers, and checking in on neighbors, friends, and loved ones.”
Brown said she has directed the Oregon Department of Emergency Management to activate the state’s Emergency Coordination Center to coordinate essential protective measures. She has also directed state agencies to provide any assistance requested by OEM to support response efforts.
Officials warn that the extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for outdoor workers and those participating in outdoor activities.
Residents are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and in an air-conditioned room if possible, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside, and reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening if you can. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.
For those without air conditioning, take advantage of one of the many area cooling centers that open whenever temperatures climb above 90 degrees in Clackamas County.
In Canby, the Canby Adult Center and Canby Public Library are open to the public as cooling centers during regular business hours. Canby’s Denny’s Restaurant, which is open 24/7, also operates as a cooling center whenever temperatures are dangerously high. No obligation to buy.
Finally, Zoar Lutheran Church, 190 SW 3rd Avenue in Canby, will be open as a cooling shelter from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday. The church will offer a free dinner from 5 to 6 p.m.
In Oregon City, The Father’s Heart will serve as an overnight cooling shelter from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Daytime cooling center hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ministry is located at 603 12th Street in Oregon City. Service pets (on leash or in carriers) are permitted.
Molalla HOPE, Inc., will also open as an overnight shelter Tuesday and Wednesday. Daytime hours are noon to 8 p.m. and overnight hours are 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The shelter is located at 209 Kennel Avenue. Small pets in kennels and certified service dogs are allowed.
For a complete list of cooling centers in Clackamas County as well as other resources, visit www.clackamas.us/relief.
Ahead of the oncoming thermal onslaught, county health officials have also compiled and released a list of tips for keeping family, neighbors, pets and yourself cool — safely.
Residents who do not have access to cool places are encouraged to visit a center to avoid the heat and relax. For more information about shelters, transportation or other resources, visit clackamas.us/relief or call 211.
In general, when the thermometer reaches the 90s or higher, all Oregonians should drink more water than usual — don’t wait until you are thirsty — and avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.
To cool off, consider taking a cool shower or bath, or use air conditioning or a fan — but don’t use a fan to blow extremely hot air on yourself. This can lead to heat exhaustion.
Also, wear lightweight and loose clothing, avoid using your stove or oven, and avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you must be out in the heat, limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours, and rest in shady areas as often as possible.
Know that the heat index plays a role. When sweat isn’t able to evaporate from the body due to high humidity, the body has difficulty regulating its temperature and cooling itself off. This can result in heat exhaustion, cramps and heat stroke.
When possible, residents should also check in on elders and vulnerable neighbors, including parents of babies and toddlers, people taking mental health medications and those with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Never leave a person, child or pet in a hot car. Temperatures inside a car can soar quickly to dangerous levels even if the outside temperature is in the 70s. Leave your pet at home during warm or hot weather.
Oregon State Police, in partnership with the Columbia Gorge Safe Kids Coalition and greater Safe Kids Oregon, has rolled out a new program to help ensure residents seeking to beat the heat in rivers and other waterways remember to stay safe.
They have developed a universal sign which aims to prevent drowning in natural water. The sign, which is available for use throughout Oregon, warns visitors of places they should keep clear of when looking to cool off.
The message reads, in both English and Spanish, “Dangerous Area – Do Not Swim”, and depicts a red circle backlash symbol over the icon of a swimmer.
There are plenty of places to swim safely in Oregon, and there are life jacket loaner stations available throughout the state which can be found online, including at Community Park in Canby. Life jackets are always recommended for children, teens and adults while swimming in natural water and for all persons when boating.
PGE has also shared some tips on staying cool as well as conserving energy amid the blistering heat wave. First, take advantage of cooler outdoor air by opening windows during cooler nights and mornings and using fans to draw cool air in.
Keep your house shaded by closing curtains, drapes or blinds on sun-facing windows, and using awnings during the day and when running AC units.
Prevent heat from building up inside by saving showers, laundry and dishwashing for cooler morning or evening hours. And, use window air conditioning efficiently by keeping window units running until the air cools enough outside to open the windows or use a portable fan.
In any heat-related emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency matters, call 503-655-8211.
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