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Lessons learned in the Pacific Northwest from the deadly 2021 ‘heat dome’

A man hands a person carrying bags a bottle of water as they stand underneath a shade cover next to a sign that reads "Seattle's Union Gospel Mission Hydration Station."
Ted S. Warren/AP
/
AP
FILE - Carlos Ramos hands out bottles of water and sack lunches, Monday, June 28, 2021, as he works at a hydration station in front of the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle. Seattle and other cities broke all-time heat records over that weekend, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius). (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A year ago this week, Washington state experienced the highest temperatures that residents have ever seen.

A meteorological phenomenon known as a "heat dome" set up over the region, with a high pressure system trapping the heat above. It lasted a week.

Temperatures spiked as high as 110 degrees in Olympia and Quileute on the coast; SeaTac recorded an all-time high of 108. And nighttime highs stayed in the 80s, preventing people without air conditioned shelter from cooling off.

The heat killed more than 100 people in Washington state alone; hundreds more in Oregon and British Columbia.

KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp spoke with public officials about lessons learned from this climate disaster. Listen above as she shares what she learned with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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