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PHOTOS: The Record-Breaking Heat Wave That's Scorching The Pacific Northwest

The sun shines near the Space Needle, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Seattle. Seattle and other cities broke all-time heat records over the weekend, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees.
The sun shines near the Space Needle, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Seattle. Seattle and other cities broke all-time heat records over the weekend, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees.

Record-breaking temperatures have soared well past 100 degrees across the Pacific Northwest, where the area is trapped beneath a blistering "heat dome."

In a region where average temperatures are closer to the 70s this time of year, houses can be seen with blacked-out windows covered with blankets to help with the heat. The area's normally mild summers mean many households don't have air conditioning.

The historic heatwave is bringing with it fears about what could follow over the rest of this summer.

The Pacific Northwest has a lack of air conditioners as hot weather is not typical. Here, Portland, Oregon residents stay at a cooling center.
Maranie Staab / Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Pacific Northwest has a lack of air conditioners as hot weather is not typical. Here, Portland, Oregon residents stay at a cooling center.

Records set one day have been broken the next.

Records have been shattered daily in parts of the Northwest, including Portland and Seattle. Portland broke records three days in a row, hitting 108 on Saturday, 112 on Sunday and then 116 on Monday.

Seattle reached 108 degrees on Monday during the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. Here, a mother and daughter carry umbrellas to shield from the sun.
John Froschauer / AP
Seattle reached 108 degrees on Monday during the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. Here, a mother and daughter carry umbrellas to shield from the sun.

In Seattle, the temperature rose to 108 on Monday. In Pasco, Wash., the mercury climbed to 118 degrees, the hottest temperature the state has recorded since 1961.

Portland recorded three of its hottest days in history last Saturday and this Sunday and Monday. Here, a couple and their dog lay in the shade during the heat wave.
Maranie Staab / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Portland recorded three of its hottest days in history last Saturday and this Sunday and Monday. Here, a couple and their dog lay in the shade during the heat wave.

In some places, the heat is so intense it has even melted power cables. In downtown Portland, the Portland Streetcar service shut down on Sunday, posting a picture on Twitter of a power cable with a hole burnt into it.

Roads have buckled under the heat in Portland

Pacific Northwest infrastructure is cracking — literally — under the pressure. In Everson, Wash., temperatures have caused the pavement to soften and expand. This can create rutting, buckling, and potholes, particularly in high-traffic areas.

Drought has created a vicious dry cycle

Widespread drought extending from the West and all the way into the Great Plains has only worsened under the heat dome. In the Northwest, a typically wet area, abnormally dry and drought conditions have expanded in a matter of weeks. On June 22, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported 79.8% of the region was in drought just ahead of the fire season.

Scientists say the warming climate is making both heat waves and droughts more frequent and intense

A sign is shown on the door of a Molly Moon's Ice Cream store in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The store was closed Monday due to excessive heat.
Ted S. Warren / AP
A sign is shown on the door of a Molly Moon's Ice Cream store in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The store was closed Monday due to excessive heat.

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.