Surviving a Heat Dome In Oregon

We were driving back from a blissful writing workshop up in a remote area in E. Oregon when we came back into cell service.  I’ll never forget my friend, Linda saying “Oh my god- there’s this thing called a heat dome that’s moving into the Pacific NW.  It’s going to get up to 116 degrees F!”  Seriously I thought she was joking until she insisted it was true.

We live in a place where occasionally we will experience triple-digit temperatures in the low hundreds but not this.  These are Death Valley or Phoenix temps.- not Oregon.  Another blow- last year it was the forest fires and now in late June extreme heat.  Add to that the pandemic, politics and it’s beyond cataclysmic.

My house has no AC.  There have been few times we have needed it as it is well insulated.  This time, however, since it only dropped into the high 80s at night the house would not cool off and remained at 89 degrees inside. This was intolerable- especially for me as I am highly sensitive to the heat and can get ill.

The day after I arrived back home we packed up our small RV and headed out to the coast – about 1 ½ hours away.  It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a campsite reservation.  We just needed relief.  As it happened we found a pleasant spot to overnight and enjoyed our time close to the ocean with temps in the mid-70-degree range.  In a sense, we were short-term climate refugees.

I worried though.  What about those like us with no AC in their homes that couldn’t leave?  What about all the homeless people? The wildlife?  Is this going to be the new normal?  Temperatures are back down in the 80s but still, I worry.

One Hundred Sixteen Degrees Fahrenheit

Even the bees pant and drink deeply

in a cluster at the edge of the birdbath

My flowers wilt in the searing heat

dropping their petals to survive

their leaves sunburn

The cats stay under the house

cooled by damp earth

A young pigeon sits on the lawn

in a heat-induced torpor.

I wish I had a needle and thread

big enough to mend this tattered planet

but don’t

so I provide water to the bees, the birds

let the cats stay beneath the house

I water and cover the flowers

and rescue the pigeon

This I can do

Cooler and happier at Cape Meares

13 thoughts on “Surviving a Heat Dome In Oregon

    1. If this is the going to be the norm it’s really frightening! I heard even parts of BC got hit by this. I’m so grateful at least we can drive over to the beach! Some people aren’t that lucky.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes they did. Many deaths in BC attributed to the heat. The town of Lillooet had temperatures of 49.5 Celsius and the community was 90% destroyed by a fire. These are unprecedented temps in Canada since they’ve been recorded. The heat dome has even reached us here in Sask. 39 Celsius yesterday, and expected to be that today. I feel for those who have no way of staying cool.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Here by the ocean we were sparred the worst of last week’s heatwave. That said, much work simply stopped by one in the afternoon. I so appreciate your care for yourself and the animals who visit you. We also do our best. One wonders what we can do as things continue to warm, yet we must do what we are able….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well considering we fled to the coast we survived! Sadly- even with watering a few plants did not or sere sunburn. We are all a bit fearful in the PNW that hot temps. & wildfires will be the new norm. I am looking into AC!

      Liked by 1 person

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