Heat Wave to Blast Longer in Tri-Cities.
by Annette Cary
Both outages were caused by faulty cables
The heat wave baking the Tri-Cities is expected to hang around longer than initially predicted, likely lasting through Water Follies weekend.
The National Weather Service has extended the excessive heat warning for the Tri-Cities and most of Eastern Washington through Saturday night. It could be extended again as Sunday looks to be about as hot.
The Tri-Cities stretch of triple-digit highs is forecast to stretch to at least eight days now. On Wednesday, some Richland residents went without air conditioning as power was lost in both the Horn Rapids area and part of central Richland.
The extreme heat can impact equipment, the city said.
No daily hot temperature records have been broken in the current heat wave, but the National Weather Service forecast called for the record high temperature to be matched on Thursday, July 28.
The temperature hit 100 in the Tri-Cities on Sunday, then climbed to 104 Monday, 106 Tuesday and 108 on Wednesday July 27.
The record for July 27 in the Tri-Cities was 115, according to the weather service.
The record for July 28 is 109 and that was the temperature forecast for Thursday.
Friday and Saturday 108 is forecast and Sunday the high is predicted to be 107.
The Weather Channel forecasts even hotter temperatures than the weather service for the days ahead, with 112 degrees predicted on Friday and Saturday.
The extreme heat should start to dissipate on Monday, with the weather service predicting a high of 98 and The Weather Channel predicting a high of 100.
Normal highs for late July in the Tri-Cities are about 94, according to the weather service.
Limited cooling at night increases the risk of heat related illnesses and deaths, giving bodies less relief from the heat.
A low of 74 is forecast for Saturday night, followed by two more nights with temperatures in the low 70s. No deaths due to heat have been reported to date this summer in Benton and Franklin counties, but last summer four people died in connection with the heat.
None had air conditioned homes. The Benton Clear Air Agency has issued an air quality alert as ozone levels have climbed during the heat wave.
Ozone levels are forecast to be "moderate" in the Tri-Cities area through Saturday, one step worse than "good."
Due to the hot weather the free COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Pasco is being moved inside the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce office at 1600 N. 20th Avenue, Suite D, in Pasco.
It will offer vaccines for ages 6 months and older 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 am. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Gift cards worth $50 are being offered to people getting their initial doses of the vaccine, but not their boosters.
RICHLAND POWER OUTAGES
Households in two Richland neighborhoods lost power Wednesday amid the prolonged heatwave.
Some homes were without power for more than three hours in triple-digit temperatures.
Power was out most of the afternoon in the Horn Rapids area and then 1,200 residents in central Richland lost power late in the evening.
Both outages were caused by faulty cables, according to Richland city officials. "Please take extra precautions to keep your home from heating up by closing window shades and blinds and limit opening the refrigerator and/or freezer," city staff wrote in a 1:30 p.m. post to Facebook after the outage Horn Rapids outage began.
One person posted online that "people are just blowing through" the traffic light that was out at Highway 240 and Kingsgate Way.
By 4 p.m. more than half of customers had power restored and the city was reminding residents that the Richland Public Library was available for people to cool down. Some residents posted online that they planned to head there.
Not long after that line crews had restored power to homes in the Horn Rapids area and were working to get commercial customers back online.
The city announced that power had been fully restored at 4:42 p.m. No estimate on the number of customers affected was immediately available.
At 8:25 p.m. power was lost in the area of Swift Boulevard and Jadwin Avenue.
"Sending good vibes to the line crews working on restoring it. Y'all are heroes," posted Scott Butner, of Richland, on the city's Facebook page during the outage.
The city announced power was restored at 10 p.m., to the relief of residents.
"You folks rock!" Jeff Marzyck posted to the line crew on Facebook.
He also said he was glad that the line crew work in Richland has not been "contracted out to some third party that could have had other jurisdictions, priorities and/or customers in front of us during a heat wave."
"This is why we should keep our utility services in house," he reminded the Richland City Council.
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