Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Seattle summers are no longer reliably mild » Yale Climate Connections

Published Date and Time: 2024-07-09 07:00:00

Seattle residents are accustomed to wearing rain jackets and sweatshirts year-round.

Binder: “Living in the Seattle region in western Washington, there’s a tendency to think that heat is a problem everywhere else but here. We typically have very mild summers.”

But Lara Whitely Binder, the climate preparedness program manager for King County, says very hot days are getting more common as the climate warms.

And unlike in Phoenix or Miami where heat is the norm, many people in Seattle lack air conditioning. So they have a hard time escaping the heat.

A devastating heat wave in 2021 killed more than 30 people in King County, which includes Seattle. It drove home the danger of extreme heat and the need to prepare.

So the county is developing an extreme heat strategy.

She says it will identify ways to protect people from high temperatures — for example, by planting trees to create shade or helping people access programs that subsidize the cost of air conditioning.

Binder says it will also be important to adapt building standards and energy codes — for example, to require energy-efficient windows that can keep out the heat.

Binder: “We need to be working on that now so that we can try to get ahead of the problem rather than constantly chasing the problem.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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