104°

The temperature in Bend on Wednesday — over 20 degrees higher than the average

102°

Bend’s previous record for Aug. 8, set back in 1972

(Source: National Weather Service)

33

Number of days Bend has hit triple digits since 1901; on average, that’s about once every four years

Take a look at The Bulletin’s webcam to see locals and tourists alike beating the heat at the Bend Whitewater Park.

Central Oregon is in the midst of a summer scorcher, with record-breaking temperatures in the triple digits and some remote areas in the High Desert forecast to reach 107 degrees this week.

The thermostat hit 104 degrees in Bend on Wednesday, more than 20 degrees higher than the average temperature this time of the year, according to the National Weather Service. The high temperature was also a record in Bend for the day, breaking the previous record of 102 degrees on Aug. 8, 1972.

The weather service issued an excessive heat warning Wednesday that will last until 8 p.m. Thursday. The warning describes dangerously hot temperatures in the region that can cause heat-related illnesses. People need to drink plenty of water, stay out of the sun and in air-conditioned areas, and check on their livestock and pets, according to the weather service.

The most vulnerable to extreme heat are those who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, children under 4 and people with chronic medical conditions.

“People prone to heat-related illness need to take the necessary precautions,” said Jim Smith, meteorologist for the weather service office in Pendleton. “And take care of your animals.”

Many residents across the region have spent the past few days either avoiding the heat by staying indoors or going to the rivers and lakes on their kayaks, paddleboards and tubes.

‘Anything that can keep you cool’

Dusty Harris, store manager at Ace Hardware off Third Street in Bend, said Wednesday his store saw a spike in sales for fans, misting systems, personal misters and floats.

“Anything that can keep you cool,” Harris said.

Harris said he prepares each summer by having the store’s shelves full of items to stay cool. Even during an average summer, the store sees an increase in those sales, he said.

“This happens every year,” Harris said. “I see the same thing every July into August.”

Records toppling

Bend could also break the record high temperature on Thursday, which was 97 degrees on Aug. 9, 1972. Thursday is expected to reach at least 100 degrees in Bend.

“We are definitely predicting record highs,” Smith said.

In Redmond, temperatures reached 102 degrees on Wednesday and could reach 105 degrees Thursday.

Madras is also experiencing high temperatures this week. On Thursday, Madras could reach 103 degrees, which would break a record of 100 degrees on Aug. 9, 1978.

The High Desert is known to cool down at night in the summer, Smith said. But this week nighttime temperatures have been in the mid-60s, higher than the August average of 45 to 50 degrees.

Fire danger

Smith said the weather service is concerned the hot and dry weather could lead to more wildfires, which are already filling the sky with smoke.

The weather service issued a Red Flag Warning and Fire Weather Warning from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday. The warnings mean critical fire weather conditions are occurring in the region, and a combination of strong winds, hot temperatures and no precipitation can cause wildfires.

Smoke already in the air from wildfires in California and Southern Oregon is partly adding to the extreme temperatures, Smith said.

“It definitely could keep the temperatures up a little bit, but not a whole lot,” Smith said.

History

Reaching triple digits is a rare occasion in Bend.

Since 1901, the National Weather Service only recorded 33 days when temperatures reached 100 degrees in Bend. In August, only 10 days have recorded 100 degrees.

Thursday could be the 11th triple-digit day, and 34th overall.

But those temperatures seem almost cool when compared to Pendleton, the Eastern Oregon location of the weather service forecasting office. On Wednesday, thermometers there reached 106 degrees — and even that wasn’t the hottest spot in Oregon.

Over at the Pendleton Fire Station, it was 109.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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