Heat wave to hit Northeast Oregon over the next six days

Jul. 22—LA GRANDE — A heat wave will be hitting Northeastern Oregon over the next week, one which Union County will not escape.

It will be bring in the hottest weather the region has experienced this year, said Rob Brooks, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

"It is going to be toasty. It is important that people start planning for how they are going to handle this heat," Brooks said on Thursday, July 21.

The National Weather Service is projecting highs in the mid to high 90s starting on Sunday, July 24, peaking at 100 degrees on Thursday, July 28.

The highs concern Brooks but the projected lows are just as concerning. The meteorologist said many of the low temperatures projected for Northeastern Oregon will be at or approaching 70 degrees.

"Recovery time will be down," he said. "People will have less opportunity to cool off their core body temperature."

In La Grande, this will be particularly true July 26-28 when the average low temperature will be a relatively warm 66 degrees, even though the average high temperature for these three days is forecast to be 98 degrees.

"People will need to find ways to cool off at night," Brooks said.

It will be even hotter in Pendleton during this three-day period, with projected highs to be 104 degrees and average lows expected to be 68 degrees.

La Grande and Pendleton typically experience their hottest temperatures in the last week of July and the first two or three days of August, according to Jim Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

Brooks, the coach of a youth boxing club in Pendleton, is so concerned about the projected hot weather that he is giving his boxers the option of not coming to practice next week. He said he does not know how many of his boxers have air conditioning in their homes to help lower their core body temperatures at night.

Pendleton will be hotter than La Grande over the next six days because of its lower elevation, Brooks said. La Grande has an elevation of 2,785 feet, while Pendleton sits at 1,200 feet. Temperatures will be lower in Enterprise, which has an elevation of 3,757 feet, because it is higher, but the Wallowa Valley will not escape the heat wave.

Enterprise's projected to climb to 95 degrees by July 28.

The projected Northeastern Oregon heat wave will hit about a year after a blistering one hit the region. That weather event, caused by a high-pressure system described by many as a heat dome that blocked all weather systems out of the region, broke many high temperature records. Brooks does not expect the upcoming heat wave to shatter any records, but he said it poses a threat to people because of its projected prolonged nature.

"I'm not concerned about records," he said. "I'm concerned about safety."

Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer. Contact him at 541-624-6016 or dmason@lagrandeobserver.com.