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Portland residents fill a cooling center with a capacity of about 300 people at the Oregon Convention Center June 27, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Nathan Howard / Getty Images

The average temperature in late July for Seattle, Washington, is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. But this week it could see 90 degree temperatures four days in a row, as National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch told The Washington Post.

The Pacific Northwest is the latest region of the U.S. to brace for record-breaking temperatures as the climate crisis makes its effects known in heat waves around the world. Its residents joined the people of the Southern Plains to make up a total U.S. population of almost 40 million people under heat alerts Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. The region is not expected to bake as hotly as it did during the historic heat wave that soared past records there in 2021, but it could close in on daily reocrds and records for the length of time it swelters under higher than usual temperatures.

The average temperature in late July for Seattle, Washington, is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. But this week it could see 90 degree temperatures four days in a row, as National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch told The Washington Post.

The Pacific Northwest is the latest region of the U.S. to brace for record-breaking temperatures as the climate crisis makes its effects known in heat waves around the world. Its residents joined the people of the Southern Plains to make up a total U.S. population of almost 40 million people under heat alerts Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. The region is not expected to bake as hotly as it did during the historic heat wave that soared past records there in 2021, but it could close in on daily reocrds and records for the length of time it swelters under higher than usual temperatures.

“To have five-day stretches or a week-long stretch above 90 degrees is very, very rare for the Pacific north-west,” Portland State University professor of climate adaptation Vivek Shandas said, as The Guardian reported.

NWS Seattle said that Tuesday was the day most likely to break heat records, as it posted on Twitter Sunday. The Seattle Times further reported that the city was projected to hit 94 degrees Fahrenheit and break the previous record for July 26–set in 2018–by two degrees.

Meanwhile, Portland is expected to hit 101 degrees Fahrenheit Tuesday and stay in the upper 90s for the rest of the week, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. Further inland, things are expected to get even hotter. NWS Spokane in Washington said its highest temperatures would likely come Thursday and Friday, with highs of 101 and 103 predicted.

In northern and inner Oregon, temperatures could hover between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, The Washington Post reported. Medford, Oregon, tied its 107-degree-Fahrenheit record high on Monday, while Dallesport, WA–across the state border–tied a record high of 108.

However, the most distinctive aspect of the current heat wave is not its heat but its projected length. 

“It’s the duration that’s really noteworthy for this event,” NWS Portland meteorologist Colby Neuman told The Washington Post. “The most consecutive days of 95 degrees at Portland on record is six, and we’ll certainly be in the running to approach, tie or exceed that record. The next few days we’re going to be right around 100.”

A lengthy heat wave is a health concern in the usually mild region because it is less common for people to have air conditioning  there. In Portland, 78 percent of households have it, and that number falls to 44 percent in Seattle. High nighttime temperatures mean that people cannot cool their homes simply by opening their windows after the sun sets, Neuman told The Washington Post.

“Residents without air conditioners will experience a buildup of heat within their home through late in the week,” the NWS warned, as The Guardian reported, adding that this “will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses.” 

The 2021 heat wave caused nearly 100 confirmed deaths in both Oregon and Washington, though the real toll could be higher, as The New York Times reported. In neighboring British Columbia, the death toll was as high as 619 people, as CBC News reported.

Since then, Portland has mandated that all new subsidized housing be built with air conditioning and anything built later than 2014 to have air conditioning in at least one room, The Guardian reported. It has also begun distributing cooling units and heat pumps to people especially at risk from high heat but has only installed 750 of a 15,000 goal. And that doesn’t cover unhoused people, who will have to rely on cooling centers being set up throughout the city.

“Unfortunately there’s this intersection of our climate crisis and our housing emergency,” Portland Bureau of Emergency Management chief resilience officer Jonna Papaefthimiou told The Guardian.

Seattle has also set up cooling centers in libraries and other public buildings, The Seattle Times reported.

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Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Democratic leadership may have given up on passing major climate legislation, but their employees aren't ready to throw in the towel.

Six Congressional staffers were arrested Monday after a first-of-its-kind sit-in at Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s office demanding he give climate negotiations another try.

Democratic leadership may have given up on passing major climate legislation, but their employees aren’t ready to throw in the towel.

Six Congressional staffers were arrested Monday after a first-of-its-kind sit-in at Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s office demanding he give climate negotiations another try.

“Right now, we Hill staffers are peacefully protesting Dem leaders INSIDE,” Saul Levin, a policy adviser to congresswoman Cori Bush who was one of those arrested, wrote, as The Guardian reported. “To my knowledge, this has never been done.”

The protest comes at a crucial moment for climate action in the U.S. In late June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not restrict greenhouse gas emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act without a new legislative mandate. Then, in mid-July, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin told Schumer that he would not support the climate elements in an economic legislative package. All of this comes as a summer of extreme heat waves around the world makes the stakes of inaction blazingly clear.

“He’s giving up, but some of us are going to live through the climate crisis,” Levin said of Schumer, as NBC journalist Jules Jester reported on Twitter.

When asked why the staffers targeted Schumer and not Manchin, Levin said it was the job of the Senate majority leader to whip votes.

“[T]ere’s always going to be a sheep that strays away from the herd. It’s the job of leadership to get the party together & actually pass what people need,” Levin said.

A total of 17 people participated in the sit-in, according to The Guardian. In addition to Levin, Axios reported that the other arrested staffers were

  1. Aria Kovalovich, who works for Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)
  2. Emma Preston, who also works for Khanna
  3. Rajiv Sicora, who works for Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.)
  4. Courtney Koelbel, who works for Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)
  5. Philip Bennett, who works for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

Bennett also serves as the President of the Congressional Workers Union, The Guardian reported.

Levin tweeted that the six arestees were released Monday evening.

“We, Hill staff, did something outside the box because we need Schumer and Biden to do something outside the box,” he said. “We are acting on the emergency basis this moment requires in hopes they will too. We have no other choice, we’ve tried everything. We won’t give up.”

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Freya in Oslo Tuesday, July 19. TOR ERIK SCHRDER / NTB / AFP / Getty Images

There's a new star on the scene in Oslo, Norway, who's won a sudden influx of fans, haters and paparazzi.

No, Freya isn't a pop idol or a glamorous starlet. She’s a 1,500-pound walrus who's caused quite a stir by visiting the coastline of the Scandinavian country, as HuffPost reported. She’s also an example of how fame can be a real burden for wildlife

There’s a new star on the scene in Oslo, Norway, who’s won a sudden influx of fans, haters and paparazzi.

No, Freya isn’t a pop idol or a glamorous starlet. She’s a 1,500-pound walrus who’s caused quite a stir by visiting the coastline of the Scandinavian country, as HuffPost reported. She’s also an example of how fame can be a real burden for wildlife

“She doesn’t get any peace,” walrus expert Rune Aae told The Norwegian News Agency, NTB.

Freya was first “discovered” when she lounged on a leisure boat in Kragerø, Norway, June 11, as Norway Today reported at the time. Firefighters temporarily succeeded in getting her off the boat, but she climbed right back on.

“So now it will be allowed to lie there until it wants to go out itself,” officer Tom Berger told Norwegian Broadcasting.

Aae, who is a doctoral fellow at the University of Southeast Norway, said Freya had been seen in the area before and had traveled from Denmark in March by way of Sweden. 

However, she became a divisive figure in Kragerø because of her propensity to lounge on boats – some of which aren’t “walrus worthy,” as a video posted by Deutsche Welle put it in June – and damage them. Two boat owners told the broadcaster that they wanted Freya to leave, but the walrus has earned her share of fans as well, including on social media.

This has become a problem for her now that she has moved to Frognerkilen, a bay near the Oslo city center. On Tuesday, July 19, she was mobbed by boaters with cameras while lounging on a boat. 

“Everything indicated that she wanted to get away. But she couldn’t because she was trapped,” Aae told NTB. 

Aae told NTB that walruses like Freya need to rest for as many as 20 hours. 

“When she is constantly stressed out by people and their presence, it is not good for her,” Aae told NTB.

He recommended that authorities restrict access to the area where Freya is resting. 

To solve the boat problem, biologists tried building a floating platform for her, but she was not interested, Euronews reported. Freya prefers boats with a low stern and a small engine that are easy to access.

“Those who have low boats where the walrus can easily get into, here at Frognerkilen, they should consider whether it’s possible to turn the boat and moor with the stern towards the quay,” biologist Kjell Isaksen told Euronews. “Then there is far less chance of the walrus getting into the boat and causing damage.” 

Eventually, researchers hope to return Freya to her home in the Arctic Circle. Until then, they hope she can get used to Oslo. And maybe Oslo can get used to her as well.

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