Teenagers tube the waters of the Pilchuck River on July 20, in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Teenagers tube the waters of the Pilchuck River on July 20, in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

28 cooling centers open in Snohomish County amid weeklong heat wave

Some places will get into the upper 90s. Firefighters are bracing for swift water rescues, heat stroke and more.

DARRINGTON — Much of Snohomish County will be sweltering this week, but firefighters are urging folks to think twice before rushing to the nearest swimming hole.

Darrington and other inland areas will be hit the hardest by this week’s heat wave, with highs in the upper 90s through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

“The rivers are always dangerous,” Darrington Deputy Fire Chief Drew Bono said, “and they’re pretty unforgiving.”

A colder-than-normal spring and early summer means snow is still melting in the mountains. Runoff from snow has resulted in colder, higher and faster rivers.

“If people do choose to go to the rivers, they should be wearing life jackets,” Bono said.

This week’s heat wave will last longer than most, said Jacob Deflitch with the NWS. Temperatures likely won’t start cooling down until the weekend. The NWS issued an excessive heat warning Monday, spanning from north Snohomish County to south Pierce County. It’s in effect through Friday.

Forecasters cautioned that “extreme heat will significantly increase the risk of heat-related illnesses for much of the population, especially those who are heat sensitive and those without effective cooling or adequate hydration.”

Eric Andrews, chief of the fire district that includes Gold Bar, said his crew has been making sure rescue boats are ready to go. They’ve also been conducting swift water rescue training in preparation for the extreme heat. Gold Bar’s fire district is home to popular swimming destinations on the Skykomish River, such as Eagle Falls. People have been flocking to Eagle Falls in recent years due to videos of the picturesque locale going viral on TikTok. Every year, swimmers get swept under the falls’ rapid waters.

“We certainly see a lot more water rescues and drownings,” Andrews said.

Local fire departments have life jackets and other safety equipment to loan out to people who can’t afford them, he added.

Cooling centers across the county will be open to the public: libraries, senior centers and other air conditioned buildings. To view a map of 28 centers from the Snohomish Health District, visit bit.ly/3S1fVxd.

Dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are common when temperatures get high. Last summer’s extreme heat wave resulted in 15 deaths in Snohomish County, according to the state Department of Health. Though this week isn’t expected to be as hot, Andrews said his crew is bracing for an increase in calls. The risk is especially high for elderly people in homes without air conditioning, he said.

Health officials are encouraging people to learn the symptoms of heat stroke: a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher; hot, red, dry or damp skin; confusion or dizziness; and a strong fast pulse. If you see someone with those symptoms, call 911, said Kari Bray, spokesperson for the Snohomish Health District.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, cold clammy skin and a fast and weak pulse. Anyone with these symptoms should get to a cool place and hydrate. If symptoms last over an hour, seek medical help.

The Darrington Fire District has come up with a way to help people beat the heat and have fun, without the risks. The water gun from a fire engine will turn the city’s Old School Park into a makeshift spray park for “kids of all ages,” Bono said.

Some cities have splash pads where folks can play in the water and stay cool, safely, on hot days. Darrington isn’t one of those cities, Bono said, so “we’re improvising.”

Natalie Kahn: 425-339-3430; natalie.kahn@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @nataliefkahn.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Most Read