Heatwave Power Outages & Dry Lightning Are Possible in Washington
As of this writing, temperatures in the Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin will remain above 100 degrees through July 7th. The hottest days are Monday, June 28th at Tuesday, June 29th with highs expected to be around 117 degrees. That is amazingly hot and extreme heat can cause all sorts of problems.
Most of us know the health risks of extreme temperatures; heat exhaustion, heatstroke, rash, dehydration, sunburn, and so forth, but what other potential problems can we expect during a long stretch of high temps?
First, what causes a heatwave? According to directenergy.com, heatwaves are caused by stubborn high-pressure systems that refuse to move - like a Donkey that senses danger - it just won't move. These systems usually form between 13,000 and 25,000 feet and cause warm air to settle and sink. This creates a dome of heat around the impacted area. So I guess you could say we're trapped!
Heatwaves are considered a natural disaster and cause problems with our daily lives. Murphy's Law says, if your HVAC system is going to fail, it will be on the warmest day of the year, and it could take days or weeks to get it repaired.
The power outage in Kennewick yesterday (June 25th), was not caused by excessive electricity use. Turns out it was a faulty underground wire, but a major power outage could be caused by increased electricity demand. What a nightmare that would be, huh? No AC, no internet, food spoilage, stress, and over-heated humans - sweaty mess. So, if you can, try and conserve energy. Close the drapes and set your thermostat to a tolerable temp - 74 to 76 degrees.
Dry lightning, strong gusty winds, and our favorite - dust storms - are also possible during a heatwave. It's called dry lightning because most of the rain in these turbulent systems evaporates before hitting the ground. These systems will typically form in the late afternoon and early evening and can pack strong damaging winds over 60 mph with dust clouds a mile high.
TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages