Near-record heat to send PPS students home early

September 5, 1944 was even hotter, setting a still-standing record of 101 degrees.

Students arrive at a Portland school, September 1, 2017 (KOIN)
Students arrive at a Portland school, September 1, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — September 4, 1955: A heatwave blanketed the US on Labor Day weekend when Dwight Eisenhower was president — 11 presidents ago.

That was also the day Portland set its high temperature mark for the date, a record 98 degrees that has stood for 62 years. The next date in 1944 was even hotter, setting a still-standing record of 101 degrees.

Record high temperatures in the region on these dates (KOIN)
Record high temperatures in the region on these dates (KOIN)

There is no question the Portland metro area is in the middle of a late summer heat wave. Expect heat through the new week with no sign of changes until Thursday, when a chance of rain and cooler temps are in the mix.

But the extended forecast looks dry and warming up again next week.

We’ve stacked 21 days of 90+ degree temperatures through Sunday — our yearly average is about 12. The all-time yearly record for 90+ degree days is 29, set in 2015.

What Portland schools will do

Many Portland area schools are starting classes, and with temperatures in the 90s, officials are taking steps to keep kids cool.

On Monday, officials with the Portland Public Schools told KOIN 6 News they will release students 2 hours early on Tuesday because of the heat. There will be no kindergarten and no Pre-K at all on Tuesday, and bus routes have been adjusted.

All after-school activities and childcare have been cancelled, however sports remains to be seen, because that is overseen by the OSAA.

While some districts have updated HVAC systems in all school buildings, most don’t have air conditioning.

PPS spokesperson Dave Northfield, September 4, 2017 (KOIN)
PPS spokesperson Dave Northfield, September 4, 2017 (KOIN)

PPS spokesperson Dave Northfield said it was a tough call to make “because you’ve got the combination of the poor air quality and the high temperatures and the fact that only 7 schools in the district (out of 79 total) have air conditioning.”

But he said district officials came to a consensus that the last 2 hours are when it gets really hot. “If they’re released around noon,” he said, “then it’s maybe 90 as opposed to 100 degrees.”

PPS has a coordination line open at 503.916.6600 if anyone has questions about the chances between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In order to reduce the temperature in non-air conditioned buildings, teachers keep the windows and blinds closed and lights off, and give students plenty of opportunities to drink water. Some classrooms will also get additional fans.

In PPS schools, bottled water is still being provided to students until old pipes are replaced to keep lead out of the drinking water.

Officials said 90% of classrooms in Beaverton schools and all school buildings in the Evergreen School District have air conditioning.

The PDX Weather app — everything at your fingertips