The Heat Wave That Hit the Pacific Northwest

Record-breaking climate extremes, from heat to drought to wildfires, are blanketing the United States this summer. This is how one region has been struck.,

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The Heat Wave That Hit the Pacific Northwest

Record-breaking climate extremes, from heat to drought to wildfires, are blanketing the United States this summer. This is how one region has been struck.

Hosted by Astead W. Herndon; produced by Annie Brown, Jessica Cheung, Rachelle Bonja and Asthaa Chaturvedi; edited by Liz O. Baylen and Paige Cowett; and engineered by Chris Wood. Special thanks to Shawn Hubler.

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July 14, 2021, 6:00 a.m. ET


The heat wave that hit America’s Pacific Northwest this summer took many by surprise.

Places that are usually cool and often rainy, such as Oregon and Washington, were covered by a blanket of heat in the triple digits — an extreme heat that damaged infrastructure and claimed 193 lives.

After the temperatures soared, a group of scientists quickly came together to answer a question that was on the minds of many: How much is climate change to blame?


Henry Fountain, a climate change reporter for The New York Times.

  • Sergio Olmos, a freelancer for The Times.

ImageWildland firefighters watching as a plane dropped fire retardant on Harlow Ridge above the Lick Creek Fire, southwest of Asotin, Wash. The fire had burned over 50,000 acres in the southeast of the state as of Monday.
Wildland firefighters watching as a plane dropped fire retardant on Harlow Ridge above the Lick Creek Fire, southwest of Asotin, Wash. The fire had burned over 50,000 acres in the southeast of the state as of Monday.Credit…Pete Caster/Lewiston Tribune, via Associated Press

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Henry Fountain and Sergio Olmos contributed reporting.

The Daily is made by Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Kaitlin Roberts, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Soraya Shockley, Corey Schreppel, Anita Badejo and Rob Szypko.

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