Record high temperatures were set across the U.S. Pacific Northwest on Saturday.
Portland, Oregon’s largest city, officially hit 42.2 Celsius to set an all-time record. It was one of at least eight cities in the states of Washington and Oregon to surpass or tie old record high temperatures.
Farther north, Seattle, Washington, reached 37.8 Celsius on Saturday, the hottest June day on record and only the fourth time in Seattle’s recorded history the temperature has climbed that high.
It’s a potentially dangerous situation for a region where many live without air conditioning because they have seldom needed it.
Temperatures on Sunday are also expected to remain significantly higher than normal levels. The trend is expected to continue into next week.
In the states of Washington and Oregon, officials have lifted COVID-19 capacity restrictions on cooling centers, pools, movie theaters and shopping malls.
In Portland, the Oregon Convention Center is open as a cooling center. It can hold about 300 people, but Peter Tiso, who works with Multnomah County’s Joint office of Homeless Services, told The Oregonian/OregonLive.com that no one, including those with pets, would be turned away.
Many stores have sold all their air conditioners and fans.
“We know from evidence around the world that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves,” University of Washington professor Kristie Ebi, who studies global warming, told the Associated Press. “We’re going to have to get used to this going forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.