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Northwest residents seek relief as heat wave bakes region

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 3, 2017

In this Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, photo, Beau Larsen dips his head in a cooling fountain of water at Amazon Pool as temperatures neared triple digits in Eugene. (Andy Nelson / Register-Guard)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, photo, Beau Larsen dips his head in a cooling fountain of water at Amazon Pool as temperatures neared triple digits in Eugene. (Andy Nelson / Register-Guard)
By Steven Dubois Associated Press

PORTLAND – People in the Pacific Northwest were enduring another scorching day Thursday as temperatures hit triple digits in Portland and other cities. The heat affected everything from transit to sporting events.

Another sizzler

Temperatures once again flirted with records as residents of the region endure one of its most prolonged heatwaves in years.

The expected high Thursday of 106 degrees in Portland would be a degree short of the city’s record – last matched on Aug. 10, 1981. The National Weather Service in Portland said Thursday evening the temperature had reached 105 degrees, making it one of the city’s top 10 hottest days on record.

Records for the warmest Aug. 2 fell throughout the region Wednesday, including in Medford, Oregon, where it was a blistering 112 degrees.

In Seattle, the high Thursday was forecast to be 91 degrees but the National Weather Service was reporting that a record-breaking high of 94 degrees was reached.

The National Weather Service tweeted: “Take home message for everyone else: it could be worse.”

Smoke tamps down heat

Smoke from dozens of fires burning in British Columbia has snaked into Washington and Oregon, causing authorities to issue burn bans and creating breathing problems for people with asthma.

However, the National Weather Service also said the hazy conditions have eased the oppressive heat in the region by partially blocking the sun.

The smoke is expected to lessen this weekend but the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is prohibiting all outdoor burning in the greater Seattle area – including charcoal barbecues.

Morning soccer

The hot weather led Major League Soccer to change the start time of Sunday’s match between the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Galaxy.

Initially scheduled for the afternoon, the match will now start at 11 a.m.

It’s the same story for the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League. The match originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon will now start at 11 a.m. The teams play on an artificial surface that heats up in the sun.

Slow ride, take it easy

Portland-area commuters braced for another day of slow trains and lengthy delays.

Since metal expands in the heat, the TriMet mass transit agency is requiring light-rail to travel no faster than 35 mph.

In addition, overhead copper wires sag in oppressive heat and rails develop kinks that can lead to derailment.

Riders faced delays of at least 30 minutes.

Along with heat-related issues, a computer malfunction tossed the agency’s dispatch and payment-processing systems into disarray. TriMet says it will not collect fares until Friday at the earliest.

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