Heat wave, lightning strikes and fire starts forecast for Thursday, Friday, Saturday

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The National Weather Service is warning of dangerously hot weather across much of Oregon over the next three days.

The heat wave is anticipated to start Thursday morning and last until Saturday evening.

Temperatures are forecast to get as high as 102 degrees in the Portland metro area on Friday. In Southern Oregon, they could reach 106. In the eastern Columbia Gorge, they could reach 108.

Andrew Phelps, the director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, said people should check on their friends, family and neighbors, or should request a public safety welfare check if they’re concerned about their well-being in the heat.

“My hope is that all Oregonians take excessive heat watches and warnings from the National Weather Service a little more seriously since we understand just how deadly these events can be, especially in some of our urban centers,” Phelps said.

Cultivate Initiatives co-director Y’Ishia Rosborough of Portland cools off with dog “Hades” at a cooling station put on by Cultivate Initiatives at Sunrise Center in Portland, June 28, 2021. A second summer heat wave is forecast for the region starting Thursday, July 29.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

To prevent heat illness, health officials recommend staying in air-conditioned buildings and not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device. They advise people to limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day and to stay hydrated.

If you start to feel unwell, take a cool shower or bath to lower your body temperature, sip water and call for help.

At least 83 people died due to Oregon’s record-shattering heat wave last month and 33 more deaths are under investigation.

The Office of Emergency Management recently completed an expedited After Action Review of the deadly heat emergency.

Its recommendations include twice-a-day briefings with key state agencies any time the National Weather Service issues an excessive heat warning or watch within Oregon. They also determined a need for 24/7 staffing for the state’s nonprofit 211 hotline, which was not staffed for 36 hours during the last heat wave, and a recommendation that public transit be free during emergencies.

The National Weather Service has also issued a red flag warning for wildfires due to the threat of thunderstorms with lightning across much of the cascades, central Oregon and southern Oregon.

The full list of red flag warnings, excessive heat warnings and heat advisories is available here.

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