MOSES LAKE — Of course it had to come sometime – it being mid-July and all – and it looks like it’s here. It’s going to get hot next week. High-90s, maybe triple-digit hot, at least for a while.
The National Weather Service office in Spokane is forecasting temperatures in the 99-degree range, “most likely about 10 degrees above normal,” said Joey Clevenger, meteorologist at NWS Spokane.
Average temperatures in Moses Lake for this time of year are in the low 90s, so the math is not encouraging. Things may get even hotter in Ephrata, Clevenger said, and break the 100-degree mark. As of Thursday it looks like Monday and Tuesday will be the hottest days, although Sunday may get pretty warm too.
The culprit is high pressure in the atmosphere, building into a ridge over the western United States. When the high pressure locks into place, “we get under a southerly flow,” Clevenger said. That means the atmosphere is pumping a lot of hot air into central Washington.
How long the hot spell will last is one of those future things, and weather forecasting tends to get fuzzy after about 10 days. But the six- to 10-day outlook is for higher than normal temperatures, Clevenger said. The high pressure ridge is projected to start breaking down by the end of the week.
It’s the first real hot spell of 2019; temperatures were above normal June 12 and 13, but the weather gods have been sticking pretty close to the temperature norms.
Hot weather can make people sick if they don’t take precautions, according to the Washington Department of Health. People should drink plenty of liquids, but avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar. Frequent but small meals are a good idea, and people should stay in air conditioned spaces. If air conditioning isn’t available, people should stay on the lowest floor of a building out of the sunlight.
People should check on family members or neighbors who are elderly or ill. Pets should have plenty of water.
Outdoor activity should be confined to early morning or late afternoon, when it’s cooler. The first symptoms of heat illnesses are dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps; people experiencing those symptoms should move to a cool place and slowly drink a cool beverage. People also should avoid extreme temperature changes. A cool shower after coming inside on a hot day could trigger hypothermia, the DOH website said.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.