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Triple-Digit Heat Dome Bakes Pacific Northwest, Triggers First Blackout

Triple-Digit Heat Dome Bakes Pacific Northwest, Triggers First Blackout

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing a multi-day heat wave that we said last week would be “historic.” The unrelenting triple-digit temperatures shattered records across the region and have stressed out power grids where rolling blackouts have been reported.

Bloomberg reports Avista Corporation, which supplies electricity to 340,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers, triggered its first rolling blackout across its grid after it became overloaded Monday evening. Rotating outages first hit 9,300 customers late Monday and could expand as temperatures remain well above average through July 4.

Avista was the first major utility to report rolling blackouts in the Northwest region, and with positive temperature anomalies to linger through the week, it may not be the last.

Avista has never “experienced this kind of demand on our system and this kind of impact to our system,” Heather Rosentrater, senior vice president of energy delivery at the utility company, told reporters during a press conference Monday. She called the weather event “very unprecedented.”

As we noted last Friday, “a “historic” heat wave was set to transform the Pacific Northwest into a furnace this weekend. It has the potential to shatter long-standing temperature records.” And that is precisely what it did.

Major metros, such as Portland and Seattle, broke record highs by huge margins as positive temperature anomalies reached between 30 to 40 degrees.

Portland hit 116 degrees by Monday afternoon, the highest temperature in more than eight decades of record-keeping. It was the third day of triple-digit temps.

Seattle recorded 108 degrees Monday afternoon, easily surpassing its previous 103-degree record from 2009. Positive temperature anomalies for the city yesterday were 34 degrees, usually temps average around 74 degrees.

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