East Portlanders broil in record summer sizzler

Will the blistering heat wave continue? Learn what the meteorologist for the National Weather Service‚ located on NE 122nd Ave.‚ predicts for the next few weeks, right here‚

A sign of the times: The Bank of the West sign, at SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Division Street, indicates what everyone knows‚ it’s darn hot here!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On July 10, the expected cell phone text message from our brother arrives: “Hot enough for ya?”

We put this inane question to Kirk Kurchel, owner of Kurchel Heating and Air Conditioning, as he arrives at the Love Boutique on SE 122 Avenue to investigate why the novelty store’s air conditioning conked out. As he sets up his ladder, he remarks, “This weather makes me a very popular guy, it seems.”

“You think it’s hot out here‚  it’s hotter up there,” Kurchel tells us. In minutes, he climbs down the ladder and reports, “The AC unit isn’t getting power from PGE; one of the phases is out.” Store owner Donna Dionne tells us that PGE crews removed a barbecued squirrel from the transformer hours later; her air conditioner again quickly floods her store with cool comfort.

Beating the heat, kids in Powellhurst-Gilbert’s Raymond Park make good use of the water feature installed by Portland Parks & Recreation in 2005. A fully-dressed parent, sitting in the shade of nearby trees, says, “I’m about ready to join them!”

Las Vegas weather moves north
We ask Dan Keirns, meteorologist with the National Weather Service‚ located here in outer NE Portland‚ if Tuesday’s temperature record-breaking heat wave would continue.

“According to our records going back well over 100 years,” Keirns tells us, “at 102 degrees, we did set a new record high temperature for July 10.”

Our sweltering heat wave was due, Keirns informs us, to a large area mass of high pressure anchored over the Pacific Northwest. “Also, there was a condition we call a ‘heat low pressure’ that developed out of the Great Basin; this allowed us to share hot weather typical of Las Vegas. The pattern of high heat extended up into Canada.”

The sign at Division Crossing, on SE 122nd Avenue at Division Street, confirms our record-high temperatures.

As the weather system shifted, it allowed rain to move northward from the south coast, adds Keirns. “Our rain on July 12 was spotty; the most reported was a tenth of an inch. There were a few [storm] cells that made pretty good rain.”

‘Normal’ summer weather to resume
“The [hot weather] ridge is moving the east, and a trough of low pressure is moving in. We’ll be moving to more seasonal temperatures, around the 80 degree mark, throughout next week,” forecasts Keirns.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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