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Record Heat Wave In Canada And US Is Causing Roads And Homes To Melt

Amelia Ward

Published 
| Last updated 

Record Heat Wave In Canada And US Is Causing Roads And Homes To Melt

The Pacific Northwest and part of Canada is currently baking in heat so unusual, it's melting the local infrastructure.

Images have emerged online showing the effects of the freak heatwave, which has currently hit a high of 46.6C, with even hotter temperatures expected.

One meteorologist said the heatwave is 'just getting started', writing on Twitter: "Canada didn't just beat its long-standing all-time national heat record...

"It knocked it out of the park by a staggering +1.6°C. This record wont even last 24 hours, the heatwave is just getting started.

"It is only June. Annual highest temperature is normally in late July!"

And it's not just Canada, Seattle hit 42C by mid-afternoon on Monday (28 June), which is well above Sunday's all-time high of 40C, while Portland, Oregon, reached 46C.

The temperatures were unheard of in a region better known for rain, and where June has historically been referred to as "Juneuary" for its cool drizzle.

The heat forced schools and businesses 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.

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

The Seattle Parks Department closed one indoor community pool after the air inside became too hot.

The heatwave 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.

Zeke Hausfather, a scientist at the climate-data nonprofit Berkeley Earth, said that the Pacific Northwest has warmed by about 1.7C in the past half-century.

Roads are melting in Portland. Credit: Twitter/wspd7pio
Roads are melting in Portland. Credit: Twitter/wspd7pio

He said: "In a world without climate change, this still would have been a really extreme heatwave.

"This is worse than the same event would have been 50 years ago, and notably so."

The blistering heat exposed a region with infrastructure not designed for it, hinting at the greater costs of climate change to come.

In Portland, light rail and street car service was suspended as power cables melted and as the heat strained the power grid.

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

Heat-related expansion caused road pavement to buckle or pop loose. Workers in tanker trucks in Seattle were hosing down drawbridges with water at least twice a day to keep them cool to prevent the steel from expanding in the heat and interfering with their opening and closing mechanisms.

In many cities in the region, officials opened cooling centres, including one in an Amazon meeting space in Seattle capable of holding 1,000 people.

Officials also reminded residents where pools, splash pads and cooling centres were available and urged people to stay hydrated, check on their neighbours and avoid strenuous activities.

The closure of school buildings halted programs such as meal services for the needy, child care and summer enrichment activities.

Featured Image Credit: @wspd7pio/@MollyBloom10

Amelia Ward
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