In the community

Hot weather to last for days with a hint of thunderstorms for the weekend

NOTE: The Enterprise is providing coverage of the heat wave for free to all as a community service.

Malheur County is facing “dangerously hot conditions” as high temperatures are forecast to exceed 100 through next Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The heat could continue until next week, according to forecasters.

And the long-range outlook holds the first hint of possible thunderstorms for the coming weekend, according to Korri Anderson, meteorologist with the Boise office of the National Weather Service.

The Malheur County Health Department urged people to adjust their schedules outdoors and even postpone events. And officials organized cooling centers in Ontario and Vale to provide a place for people to escape the heat.

“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” according to a weather service warning

 issued early Monday.

Ontario posted temperatures of over 100 degrees beginning on Friday, July 5. Record-breaking highs were forecast for Tuesday (106) and for Wednesday (109).

The longest streak of 100-degree days was in 1961, when Ontario was 100 or hotter for 32 days straight. A 20-day heat wave hit in 2021 and a 14-day heat wave was recorded in 1961.

According to the weather service, Ontario averages 15 days a year at 100 degrees or more. The record number of such days was in 1961 with 50.

Anderson said the long-range forecast shows clouds moving into the area starting Saturday, July 13, and lasting through Tuesday. That could damp down high temperatures but keep nights warmer, he said.

And there a risk the monsoon moisture could trigger thunderstorms, he said.

The health department advised in a statement last week that “heat illness can come on quickly.”

“If someone looks unwell – confused, dizzy or ‘out of it’ – have them rest in a cool place and sip water until they feel better,” the statement said. “If they vomit, faint, stop sweating or get worse, get medical help immediately. These symptoms likely mean heat stroke, a life-threatening condition where the body cannot cool down on its own.”

The agency recommended that “anyone planning outdoor work, sporting events or social events in the next two weeks to reschedule for earlier or later in the day” or consider “postponing until the heat wave is over.”

The hot weather sent Malheur County people looking for relief in recent days.

The Ontario Recreation District reported that about 200 people made use of the splash pad park. The splash pad, located at Lions Park in Ontario, is open seven days from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Admission is $1.

Sponsors cleared the way for people to use the park at no charge over the weekend. The Malheur Enterprise sponsored the first 100 people on Saturday, July 6. The Hironaka family and Grass Roots Ontario, a local landscaping company, also sponsored admissions for 100 people.

According to Rich Harriman, county emergency manager with the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, free places people can go to escape the heat in the coming days include:

• Malheur Council on Aging and Community Services

Location: 842 S.E. 1st Ave., Ontario

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Oasis House at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

Location: 802 S.W 5th St., Ontario

Hours: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

• Eastern Oregon Center of Independent Living

Location: 1021 S.W 5th Ave., Ontario

Hours: 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday and Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.

• Malheur Enterprise

Location: 293 Washington St. W., Vale

Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

News tip? Send your information to [email protected].

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE – The Malheur Enterprise delivers quality local journalism – fair and accurate. You can read it any hour, any day with a digital subscription. Read it on your phone, your Tablet, your home computer. Click subscribe – $7.50 a month.