In our current climate, a heat wave of similar severity could be expected, roughly, once every 1,000 years across the Pacific Northwest, according to a recent study that has yet to receive peer review. But as global warming advances, such a severe heat wave could be expected once every five to 10 years, the research suggests.
“If you are vulnerable, or if you have vulnerable people in your household, it’s important to have cooling resources,” said Dr. Deepti Singh, a climate researcher at Washington State University – Vancouver, in the days before the heat wave hit.
The cooling sites were distributed across the city, but there were gaps in coverage. There were no sites in Georgetown or Queen Anne, and none below 95th Street in Northeast Seattle, for example, until June 28 — the third and hottest day — when the city opened one in Magnuson Park after residents in a low-income housing development raised concern.