3 august 2017

As the Northwest Boils, an Aversion to Air-Conditioners Wilts

By ALAN BLINDERAUG. New York Times, August 3, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. — Before the first batch of Nutella and sea salt doughnuts was sold on Fremont Street on Wednesday morning, Brianna Gneckow posed a question to her co-workers at Pip’s Original Doughnuts: “Does everybody have water?” But by lunch, hours before Portland endured a record high of 103 degrees, the staff had switched off the fryer and locked the doors.

Portland, of all places, was just too hot. As the Pacific Northwest sweated and wilted in the grip of one of the fiercest heat waves ever recorded in this region, Portland shattered its Aug. 2 record of 96 degrees but fell short of the all-time mark. A 78-year-old record in Salem, the Oregon capital, fell on a day when the city hit 106 degrees. Thermometers in Seattle, a three-hour drive from Portland, also broke a record, topping out at 91.

Here in Oregon’s largest city, it was sometimes hard to tell what was more startling: the record-threatening heat or the fact that, on a planet getting used to higher temperatures, Portland was not entirely unprepared for it. In a region known for its enviously mild, low-humidity summers, people have increasingly and quietly embraced air-conditioning. Federal data suggests that about 70 percent of the Portland area’s occupied homes and apartments have at least some air-conditioning, up from 44 percent in 2002.


Related New York Times articles
* "Blistering Heat Wave Threatens Seattle"
* Its Not Your Imagination. Summers Are Getting Hotter
* 95 Degree Days. How Extreme Heat Could Spread Across the World

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