The title is a direct quote from the Weather Service about the heat dome over the Pacific Northwest. Meterologist are falling back on deeply scientific language, calling it “insane,” “bonkers” and “incredible.” According to the Washington Post:

The strength of the heat dome . . . is simply off the charts. Its intensity is so statistically rare that it might be expected only once every several thousand years on average. 

Washington Post

Once every several thousand years? Yeah, no. I think this is just a shot across our bows; just the beginning.I chose Seattle 25 years ago because of its temperate climate—specifically, because one late September night in Atlanta I woke up at 2 in the morning and it was still 74 degrees. No, I thought. No no no. Won’t. And we moved. Yet last night, at 2:38 am outside it was 86 degrees. This is so far from ‘normal’ I can’t wrap my head around it.

Here in Seattle:

  • yesterday hit 102
  • today heading for 106
  • tomorrow to hit 111

For those who use 21st century measures, 111ºF is 44ºC. This heat is so all-encompassing that frankly I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around it. Yet we’re lucky: we live in one of Seattle’s real cool spots:

Image description: heat map of Seattle just north and south of the ship canal. Colours range from red (hottest) to blue (coolest). On small island of blue to the north is marked with a purple dot and purple arrow.

Also, we have central air-conditioning. This is good—I think I might be dead without it (I have MS: my nerve signals fail when I overheat)—but our system just isn’t designed to handle temperatures 21 degrees above previous records.

We’ve offered help to friends, and shelter for neighbours. I hope everyone out there has cold water, shade, and pre-cooked food. See you on the other side.