High heat headed for Whatcom County with no relief in sight

Channing Harley, 3, of Bellingham, enjoys the spray park at Cornwall Park Thursday, June 18, 2015. The spray park is open 1 to 7 p.m. daily until Sept. 15.
Channing Harley, 3, of Bellingham, enjoys the spray park at Cornwall Park Thursday, June 18, 2015. The spray park is open 1 to 7 p.m. daily until Sept. 15. The Bellingham Herald

Keeping cool is going to get a little tricky in the coming days as temperatures are expected to rise to record levels.

High pressure over the Northwest is going to push temperatures for Bellingham to 79 degrees Friday, 81 degrees Saturday, and 87 degrees Sunday, according to National Weather Service forecasts on Wednesday, June 24. The normal high this time of year is about 68 degrees.

Highs for inland areas like Lynden are expected to be even hotter, with temperatures peaking at 90 degrees Sunday, according to the Weather Service.

Other weather forecasters are predicting even higher temperatures those days.

Those temperatures are likely to approach or break records. The record high for June 26 and 27 in Bellingham is 82 degrees. The June 28 record is a little warmer, at 84 degrees, according to the Weather Service.

June’s all-time high in Bellingham was a scorching 93 degrees, set in 1955.

Sweat-inducing highs, combined with scant precipitation over the last several months, is creating concern for fire danger, especially with the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. A threat of lightning this weekend, especially Sunday, is also drawing attention to dry conditions throughout the area.

“We’re way ahead of fire season,” said Weather Service meteorologist Ted Buehner. “It’s here.”

The forecast has become so hot and dry that the Weather Service issued a special advisory Wednesday for Western Washington to be on the alert for potential dangers.

Summer temperatures have been on the rise for the past two decades, Buehner said. In 2009, high temperatures gripped the region, with all-time records broken in cities across the area.

It has become a trend that customers of Barron Heating & Air Conditioning in Ferndale have already been preparing for. General manager Chris Baisch said he has seen six times as many air conditioners installed this year than in the last few summers.

“This would typically be the start of the crazy air conditioning season,” he said.

With lows not expected to drop below 60 starting Thursday night, air conditioning might be the only way to keep homes from feeling like ovens. But people looking to invest in an air conditioning unit should expect to schedule installation at least three weeks in advance.

People looking for a quicker, cheaper option can look into purchasing a portable or window air conditioner from such retailers as Hardware Sales in Bellingham. Floor manager Donald Newman said people thinking about buying one should make up their minds quickly, because limited supplies are expected to vanish before the end of July.

People hoping for a break in temperatures may have to wait awhile. Some longer-term forecasts have Bellingham highs reaching the 80s through July 3.

Libby Keller can be reached at 360-715-2242 or libby.keller@bellinghamherald.com.