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Late-week heat to soar to record levels across Pacific Northwest

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 08, 2019, 3:41:03 AM EDT

An already mild stretch in the Pacific Northwest will kick into another gear late this week as temperatures soar to record levels.

The upcoming heat will have warm weather fans rejoicing, but can put a strain on some residents who are not yet accustomed to such high temperatures this early in the year.

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Through Wednesday, temperatures 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal will be common along Interstate 5 from Seattle to Portland, Eugene and Medford, Oregon, as well as across the interior valleys.

Average highs for early May range from 63 to 71 from north to south along this stretch of I-5.

"An offshore flow of air out of the east and northeast will send an already warm air mass into another gear by Thursday and Friday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist and western U.S. blogger Brian Thompson.

"Areas west of the Cascades will be challenging records," he added.

Highs will surge to levels more typical of midsummer, generally in the 80s F and in some cases the lower 90s F.

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On Thursday, Seattle is forecast to surpass its daily record high of 81 last reached in 1987.

Seattle may wind up warmer than Phoenix late this week, which does not happen very often, according to Thompson.

Friday's highs are forecast to be in the middle 80s F in Seattle and lower 80s F in Phoenix.

A slow-moving storm will promote cloudy, cool and unsettled weather over the Southwest states late this week, as opposed to the continued dry weather and sunshine that will prevail farther north.

"Temperatures under this system will be running about 5-10 degrees below average, which will be a stark contrast to the runaway warmth in the Pacific Northwest," Thompson said.

The cloudy, damp weather will remain far enough south of Redding, California, for heat to surge in the city and drive up cooling demands.

Record-challenging 90-degree temperatures will begin as early as Wednesday in this locale.

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Fans of summerlike weather will also be delighted by warmth surging into places such as Bend, Pendleton and The Dalles, Oregon; Spokane, Yakima and Walla Walla, Washington; and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

While the weather will be great for those firing up the grill, hiking, camping and with other planned outdoor activities, necessary precautions should be taken during this early season heat wave. This includes wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, taking frequent breaks in the shade, lathering on sunscreen and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Playground equipment that is directly in the sunlight can become hot enough to cause serious burns, so avoid making use of them during the hottest time of the day (afternoon hours). Never leave pets or children in a sealed vehicle even for a short amount of time.

Those seeking relief from the heat can head to cooler coastal or mountain communities.

People are urged to keep in mind that temperatures in lakes, rivers and streams remain low enough to cause cold water shock. Never head out onto a body of water alone or without a life jacket.

Water levels on rivers and streams flowing out of the Cascades will be swollen as a rapid snowmelt ensues during the warm spell.

The extended dry stretch can cause ongoing abnormally dry conditions to expand across the region. The combination of the heat and dry ground will necessitate anyone using outdoor flames to exercise caution.

The unseasonably warm conditions may last right through the weekend.

AccuWeather long range meteorologists are anticipating hot, dry weather to be the theme across the Northwest this summer, leading to growing drought and a higher frequency of wildfires.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see how hot it will get in your area. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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