Kayakers Ray Hebert, left, and his wife, Gail Hebert, both of Port Angeles, get ready for a paddle on Dungeness Bay north of Sequim from Cline Spit County Park last week before a heat wave began on the North Olympic Peninsula. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Temperature rising on Peninsula

Facilities open for cooling off

An “unprecedented” heat wave will peak on Sunday on the North Olympic Peninsula, a National Weather Service meteorologist predicted.

Mike McFarland of the National Weather Service in Seattle said that all-time heat records for Port Angeles, Port Townsend and the West End will be in jeopardy of falling on Sunday.

“There’s obviously a very strong pull to be on the beach under a big, shady beach umbrella,” McFarland said Friday.

“Even on a squelching hot day with a thermal trough right over Western Washington, there usually is still a little bit of a sea breeze in the afternoon and evening.

“That is why we’re not (forecasting) 100 for you.”

Clallam and Jefferson counties are under an excessive heat warning through 9 p.m. Monday. The hottest day will be Sunday, McFarland said.

WHERE TO COOL OFF

All-time heat records for Port Angeles, Port Townsend and the West End will be in jeopardy of falling on Sunday, he said.

Even so, Clallam and Jefferson counties will remain cooler than much of the sweltering Pacific Northwest.

Places along the western slopes of the Cascades like Enumclaw and Monroe are expected to top out at around 112 degrees, McFarland said.

The observed highs today (Friday) on the North Olympic Peninsula were 93 in Port Angeles, 88 in Port Townsend and 77 at Quillayute Airport near Forks.

The forecast highs for Saturday are 85 for Port Angeles, 82 for Port Townsend and 86 for the Quillayute Airport, with Sundays highs expected to be in the 90s.

“We are about to experience one of the most extreme weather events in Northwest history,” said Cliff Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor and weather blogger, in a Friday podcast.

“We will break many all-time temperature records for the region, and we will do this because so many factors occurred in the exact sequence and location required to push the atmosphere to extremes.”

The factors include a strong ridge of high pressure over the region, a trough of low pressure approaching the coast late Sunday into Monday and the compression and warming of sinking air as it moves over the Cascades into the Puget Sound, Mass said.

“As it’s compressed and warmed, the temperature will increase to unimaginable levels,” Mass said.

“We’re talking about temperatures of over 110 degrees some places west of the Cascade crest.”

Here are the all-time temperate records for three North Olympic Peninsula locations with established weather data:

• Quillayute Airport, west of Forks — 99 degrees on Aug. 9, 1981.

“It would say it will be between 98 and 104 there,” McFarland said of the Sunday forecast.

• Port Angeles — 94 degrees on Aug. 18, 2016 and July 28, 2009.

“If you’re going to break that record, it’s going to be on Sunday,” McFarland said.

“You might not break it by 1 degree, but you might just break it.”

• Port Townsend — 96 degrees on Aug. 8-9, 1960.

“They could break it,” McFarland said.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Reporters Diane Urbani De La Paz and Zack Jablonski contributed to this report.

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