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Heat warnings issued as Pacific Northwest braces for soaring temperatures

Excessive heat warnings have been issued for parts of Oregon and Washington state, with temperatures in Portland forecast to potentially top 100 degrees.
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Tuesday could be the hottest day in a weeklong heat wave that has hit the Pacific Northwest region, with temperatures in Portland, Oregon, forecast to potentially top 100 degrees.

Excessive heat warnings have been issued for parts of Oregon and Washington state, with temperatures potentially hitting the 90s in Seattle and as high as 110 degrees in eastern parts of Oregon and Washington.

The expected high temperatures, which are uncommon for cities such as Portland and Seattle, have prompted local officials to urge residents to stay safe and take precautions.

"A heat advisory is in effect for Seattle for July 26-29 with temperatures expected to rise above 90 degrees," Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a tweet Monday, sharing a link to information on heat safety tips and cooling center locations across the city.

The city of Portland also noted that Mayor Ted Wheeler had released an emergency declaration due to the "extreme heat predicted to start on Tuesday," with temperatures having "the potential to reach over 100 degrees."

TriMet, which operates public transit in Portland, said that "due to the extreme heat emergency declarations," it would not turn away "anyone riding to and from a cooling shelter who cannot pay fare."

"On buses, please tell the operator as you come on board that you’re heading to a cooling center," it said.

After last year's deadly "heat dome," which saw heat records shattered and was connected to hundreds of deaths across Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, communities across the Northwest have already been looking to adapt to the possibility of longer and hotter heat waves.

The Portland Housing Bureau, which oversees housing policy in the city, is requiring newly constructed subsidized housing to have air conditioning in the future. Meanwhile, a new Oregon law will require any new housing built after April 2024 to have air conditioning in at least one room.

During the heat dome phenomenon, temperatures soared to 116 degrees in Portland and smashed heat records across parts of the region.

As the northwestern U.S. hots up, temperatures in the Northeast are expected to cool down over the coming days.

Temperatures in Philadelphia hit 99 degrees Sunday, before factoring in humidity. Meanwhile, Newark, New Jersey, spent its fifth consecutive day at 100 degrees or higher, the longest streak since records began in 1931, The Associated Press reported.

Boston also saw temperatures hit 100 degrees, breaking the previous daily record high of 98 degrees set in 1933.

Scientists have warned that soaring temperatures are becoming increasingly common due to climate change propelled by the greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere by humans.

“Climate change is fueling these dastardly heat waves that are almost beyond belief, and we’re not accustomed to them yet,” Kim Knowlton, an assistant clinical professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, told NBC News earlier this week.

The United States is far from alone in seeing soaring temperatures this summer, with the United Kingdom contending with a recent record-shattering heat wave, while other countries in Europe have faced similarly sweltering temperatures.