Mother Nature is doing a 180 compared to last month. Weather experts say clear, sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s are on the way this weekend.
The National Weather Service issued an alert Wednesday for the year’s first heat wave, advising people to check their air conditioners and fans and not to cool down by jumping into rivers, which have temperatures dangerously lower than the air.
Rainy, cool weather has been the norm in the Lower Columbia River Valley this spring, with frequent showers and highs typically reaching the low 60s.
But by the weekend, the National Weather Service predicts clear skies and a high of 80 degrees Friday, 88 Saturday and 93 Sunday in Kelso and Castle Rock. Woodland temperatures are expected to be slightly higher: 83 degrees Friday, 91 Saturday and 95 Sunday.
According to the Western Regional Climate Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average April temperature in Longview was about 48 degrees and the average May temperature was 55 degrees. So far, June’s average temperature has been 60 degrees.
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The frequent rains are also taking a break this weekend. May’s precipitation was so high, a roughly decade-long Longview record collected by the climate center was broken when totals reached 5.11 inches.
With rising temperatures, meteorologists and safety experts are reminding people rivers are too cold to jump in to cool down.
The National Weather Service reports rivers are “running cold and fast,” reaching temperatures in the 40s to 50s, despite the rising heat surrounding them. A cold water shock can kill in minutes and even experienced swimmers can lose muscle control quickly during such shocks, experts say.
The Cowlitz County Department of Emergency Management reports this is the first forecast with temperatures over 80 degrees this summer, but the heat is not “extreme or rare for this time of year.”
However, the department reminds people to account for the heat, by checking on neighbors who do not have air conditioning and avoiding not working or exercising outside between 3 and 7 p.m., which is the hottest part of the day. Never leave pets, children or vulnerable adults in locked vehicle, as temperatures inside rise higher than the air outside to deadly levels.