Seattle improves heat response

The July event review demonstrates the city’s ongoing efforts to enhance heat responsiveness as more hot weather is predicted.

In July, Seattle had yet another heat wave with six consecutive days over 90 degrees. In order to guarantee that citizens could beat the heat, the City of Seattle intervened and worked with affiliated organisations.

For this week’s Wednesday and Thursday, the National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Heat Advisory due to expected high temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s.


Residents are urged to adhere to Public Health Seattle King County’s advice on staying cool and being cautious while engaging in cold-water recreation. Although they will be monitored, temperatures are not anticipated to need the activation of additional City resources.


Libraries with air conditioning will be open during normal business hours as a secure place to cool down. On the website for the Seattle Public Libraries, you may find a list of libraries with air conditioning and their operating hours.

Planning for Pre-Event Heat

The City of Seattle has worked with regional partners, subject matter experts, including the National Weather Service and the University of Washington, and communities most impacted by heat and environmental injustice, such as seniors, primary caregivers for children, communities of colour, and people experiencing homelessness, to improve our planning for and response to extreme heat events since the historic and deadly heat events of Summer 2021.

In order to coordinate its response to the heat wave, the City held meetings with partner organisations, the National Weather Service, and other City departments starting on July 22. To provide a coordinated response between the City and partner agencies during the heat wave, these routine coordination sessions were organised.


Defending People

From Tuesday, July 26 through Saturday, July 30, Seattle Parks & Recreation maintained four community buildings with air conditioning available to the public as cooling centres: Rainier Beach, International District Chinatown, and Magnuson Park.


It was possible to visit Northgate Community Center from Tuesday, July 26 until Friday, July 29. 58 individuals used community centres in total.

The Central Area Senior Center, Greenwood Senior Center, Pike Market Senior Center, Senior Center in West Seattle, and Southeast Seattle Senior Center all operated as cooling stations.


The Greenwood Senior Center has also extended its hours until Saturday, July 30. During the extreme weather episode, caseworkers from Aging and Disability Services (ADS) made 1,703 check-in calls to at-risk long-term clients, donated 38 fans, and bought eight air conditioning systems that were delivered to senior facilities.

On days when they were supposed to be closed, the Seattle Public Library rescheduled workers to operate all air-conditioned branches (with the exception of the Magnolia and Madrona-Sally Goldmark branches on Friday, July 29 due to lack of staff). Nearly 30,000 individuals were fed at these sites during the July heat wave.


The City’s HOPE Team worked in collaboration with outreach organisations to link those who were experiencing homelessness with shelter and cooling centre choices, to do welfare checks, to assist with transportation requirements, and to offer water and other safety-related necessities. HOPE Team:


45 shelter referrals were made possible
sent 150 people to cooling websites
225 welfare checks were conducted.
621 bottles of water were distributed, while 43 persons received basic necessities.


Health One was on the ground distributing water, sports drinks, information about cooling facilities, and, on a case-by-case basis, helping with transportation.


From July 26 to July 29, City Hall was used as a day centre thanks to a collaboration between the City and the King County Homelessness Regional Authority (KCRHA). Visit this page for a detailed account of KCRHA’s reaction to extreme weather.


Keeping Infrastructure Safe

Over the course of the heat wave, Seattle residents utilised around 194 MGD of water every day. During this time of year, users utilise an average of 171 MGD of water. By filling the City’s Mountain reservoirs in the spring and effectively controlling the water supply throughout the season, Seattle Public Utilities gets ready for greater water usage throughout the summer.


To keep the moveable steel components of the draw bridges from expanding and becoming caught, SDOT workers sprayed cold water on the Ballard, Fremont, and University Bridges every day.


Looking Forward

The City of Seattle is adopting long-term measures to decrease our contributions to climate change, alleviate its affects on our community, and prepare to create a more sustainable future in addition to the effort done to react to July’s heat wave:


Seattle is phasing out fossil fuels from its infrastructure, cutting emissions, and strengthening requirements for new building. Residents may apply for financial help to switch from oil to electric furnaces.
In order to eliminate heat islands, chill metropolitan areas, and increase climate resilience, Seattle is expanding its tree cover.

For free trees for their community, residents may submit an application.
Seattle is rectifying historical environmental injustices and giving priority to areas like the Duwamish Valley neighbourhoods, where future effects will be most severe. Duwamish River Opportunity Grants are open to locals.

In the next years, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) plans to install refrigeration in community facilities in the areas that would be most affected by the heat.

The Office of the Mayor’s original article, City of Seattle Continues Heat Response Improvements, can be found here.