After an unwelcome visit a month ago, triple-digit temperatures are predicted to return to Yakima later this week.
The detailed forecast from the National Weather Service in Pendleton, Ore., says Thursday’s high in Yakima could hit 101 degrees, with potential highs of up to 104 on Friday and Saturday before dropping to a possible high of 98 degrees on Sunday.
A ridge of high pressure building across the Northern and Central Rockies is pushing into the Pacific Northwest, bringing increased heat to the Yakima Valley along with some cloudiness and isolated thunderstorms in north central to eastern Oregon and far southeastern Washington, according to the forecast discussion.
“It’s a little bit farther south but migrating northward here, so we’ll have an influx of clouds, mostly for late tomorrow,” meteorologist Jim Smith said of the ridge of high pressure. “There is a large area of high pressure dominating all of the area, but the actual center is extending north through Idaho into Canada.
“It’s building into the area, and then holding there for a few days, and then shifting off more to the east.”
Though triple-digit temperatures are predicted, they probably won’t set any records, Smith said. Yakima set a new all-time record June 29 of 113 degrees, topping a previous record of 110 degrees on Aug. 10, 1971, at the Yakima Air Terminal weather station.
“On the 29th, the record is 105 in 2014. For the 30th the record is 105 as well — that was last year,” Smith said. The record for July 31 is 108 degrees in 1971, “so that one looks safe, but we’re pretty close on Friday,” he added.
Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice has said heat was a contributing factor in at least seven deaths in Yakima County during an unprecedented heat wave in the Pacific Northwest from June 26 to July 2. The heat wave resulted in a high risk of heat-related impacts and illness for many, especially those who are heat-sensitive and those without air conditioning or adequate cooling options.
According to state Department of Health statistics, there were 117 likely heat-related deaths in Washington from June 26 to July 19. Many were in King and Pierce counties, though the state listed the residence of death as unknown for 15.
The list current as of Monday afternoon included six in Yakima County, four in Benton County and one each in Walla Walla and Franklin counties. The state’s heat-related death count is preliminary, though. The statewide count of deaths often lags behind local counts.
Altogether, 21 of Washington’s 39 counties have reported heat-
related deaths. The state will report heat-related deaths by county throughout the warm weather season.