“Nowhere Safe”: Heat Shatters Pacific Northwest Vision as a Climate Refugee | Western United States Climate Crisis

TThe recent heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest not only wiped out temperature records in cities such as Seattle and Portland, but also said the region would be a calm and safe haven from the effects of the climate crisis. Brought a torch to the comfort bromide. ..

Unprecedented temperatures burned the area three weeks ago. This is part of a procession of heat waves that hit the dry western United States from Montana to Southern California over the past month. A “Heat dome” established in the area Seattle reached 108F (42.2C), breaking the previous record by 3F (1.7C), while Portland, Oregon soared to its own record of 116F (46.7C). In some inland areas, it managed to rise to 118F (47.8C).

The situation in a corner of the United States, often known for its mild, often lukewarm summers, has embarrassed residents.

The heat cracked and bent the road, melted the power cable, and closed the restaurant.The hospital suddenly found itself Overwhelmed, With hundreds of people Believed to have died in the heat..Slightly north off Vancouver, estimated 1 billion marine life diedLike helpless mussels and clams cooked in their own shells.

“We saw the forecast, but it was unbelievable because there really isn’t such a heat wave. In Seattle, June is usually cloudy and is called June,” said the University of Washington. Said the epidemiologist Kristie Ebi. She woke up at 6am and knew that the heat waves were serious when the temperature was already 80 degrees. “You see the heat wave hitting elsewhere and you know it’s bad, but there’s no sense of urgency until it hits you.”

Seattle’s old joke is that more people have boats than people who have air conditioning. The latest numbers are shown Only 44% of households in the city are air-conditioned.The rugged natural beauty, pleasant climate, and image of the Pacific Northwest as a place of positive politics helped attract many newcomers – Seattle is the fastest-growing major city in the United States. was last year – But the whimsical heat waves provided a cool reality check for the flowering state as a shelter.

Members of the Salvation Army will hand out bottled water in Seattle on June 27th. Photo: Karen Ducey / Reuters

Jesse Keenan, a climate adaptation expert at the University of Tulane, said: “It’s becoming more affordable and is increasingly burdened by wildfires, terrible smoke, flash floods, and these sudden, life-threatening heat waves.”

Pacific Northwest It has risen by an average of 2F (1.1C) in the past century., Wildfires, coastal fishing failures, snow receding, and increased heat have sacrificed areas that have historically been unable to prepare for such extreme situations. Scientists have said that recent heat waves would have been “virtually impossible” without human-induced climate collapse. Said..

According to Keenan, the northwestern community faces “big challenges” in adapting to this changing reality, upgrading homes, businesses and public buildings with adequate cooling, and more trees. The coating should increase the shade and make the surface of the city more reflective. Heat and modification of power grids that are not well equipped to handle large summer power surges.

“The ongoing climate is changing very rapidly and we are not well prepared for the extreme heat at this time,” Keenan said. “People are finally feeling the pain.”

Oregon was considered a quiet haven for Stephen Manao Akamai Johnson, who emigrated to the state in 2017 after witnessing his home in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. And the atmosphere.

But when the heat wave struck, Johnson, his partner, and their dog had to flee the unair-conditioned Corvallis apartment to stay on the Oregon coast to attempt air conditioning. The heat wave following the wildfires that raged near last year forced Johnson to revise his previous assumptions.

“I always thought this was a comfortable place and could even be a host country for climate migrants,” said biologist Johnson. “But there was this big awakening that things were moving faster than expected. It was shocking how hot and how long it took to cool down.”

According to the sign, the restaurant closes early due to the heat wave
June 28, a sign in Dick’s drive-in window in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. Photo: Ted S Warren / AP

Some of Johnson’s friends are now among the many who are flooding local contractors with requests to install air conditioners.

“In just a few days, we’ve seen this big change in the way people think about adaptation,” he said. “My view of Oregon has changed. I thought climate change was inevitable. I have to think about it wherever I am, whenever I go there. A safe place Nowhere. There really is no shelter. “

The calculus of some people is even more existential.Lytton, a small Canadian town hundreds of miles north of Seattle Almost completely consumed The fast-moving wildfire on June 30 set a surprising new record temperature of 121F (49.6C) the next day. This is significantly higher than previous records and higher than any temperature ever measured in Europe or South America.

Lytton is often hit by the heat of the summer because it is located in the dry inland rather than the more airy coasts of British Columbia, but this year it approaches an incredibly extreme situation. I couldn’t. Some are forced to think about their existence in what appears to be a safe corner of the world.

“I’m sure there will be more and more fires until there are no trees here,” said Jim Ryan, a computer programmer who has lived in the small town of Spence Bridge near Lytton for the past 30 years. “Do you want to live in the smoke every summer in a more polluted place than in a big city, even if you don’t have burnout?”

Ash was still falling around Ryan’s house, and a nearby wildfire suffocated his town last summer, leaving his clothes smelling of smoke. “In the past, there was always a fire, but it wasn’t as big as it was. It didn’t ignite so quickly,” he said.

“For me, it’s real climate change. I don’t want to move, but I don’t want to live here and shorten my life. That’s what we’re struggling with. The question, however, is where to go. “

“Nowhere Safe”: Heat Shatters Pacific Northwest Vision as a Climate Refugee | Western United States Climate Crisis

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