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Rolling Blackouts Expected as Heat Wave Moves Inland

Spokane predicts highest-ever temperature
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2021 2:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – The unprecedented Northwest US heat wave that slammed Seattle and Portland, Oregon, moved inland Tuesday—prompting a electrical utility in Spokane, Washington, to warn that people will face more rolling blackouts amid heavy power demand. The intense weather that gave Seattle and Portland consecutive days of record high temperatures far exceeding 100 degrees was expected to ease in those cities. But inland Spokane was likely to surpass Monday's high temperature—a record-tying 105 Fahrenheit. About 8,200 utility customers in parts of Spokane lost power on Monday and Avista Utilities warned that there will be more rolling blackouts on Tuesday with the high temperature predicted at 110, which would be an all-time record, the AP reports.

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The heat forced schools and businesses on Monday to close to protect workers and guests, including some places like outdoor pools and ice cream shops where people seek relief from the heat. COVID-19 testing sites and mobile vaccination units were out of service as well. The heat wave was caused by what meteorologists described as a dome of high pressure over the Northwest and worsened by human-caused climate change, which is making such extreme weather events more likely and more intense. The blistering heat exposed a region with infrastructure not designed for it, hinting at the greater costs of climate change to come. Heat-related expansion caused road pavement to buckle or pop loose in many areas, including a Seattle highway.

(Read more heat wave stories.)

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