South Sound hits heat record, with no relief in sight

Saturday’s record high temperatures could almost make a Pacific Northwesterner long for the region’s sometimes humorous over-reaction to cold.

The South Puget Sound region tied the 15-year-old record high of 88 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport just after lunch Saturday, as measured by the National Weather Service, leaving hours more to set another record. By 6:30 p.m., the temperature had hit 92.

Nighttime wasn’t forecast to bring much relief. The NWS warned Saturday that temperatures overnight might drop only to 67 degrees, which would tie the record for highest low temperature set in 2006. If it only drops to 68? That would be the highest low temperature since records began being kept in 1891.

A little “snowpocalypse,” anyone?

Maybe just snow cones. And ice cream cones. Really, almost anything else cool, cone-shaped or not.

The observation area above the ice rink at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway was one of several designated “cooling centers” for people with no other option, but it was empty as of 3 p.m. Saturday.

Not empty: Tacoma’s waterfront, lakes and spray parks. From Titlow Beach to Wright Park in the Stadium District to Verlo Park on McKinley Avenue, families packed the premises throughout the sunny afternoon and evening.

Public libraries also offer a place to find relief. Asia Smith and her daughter, Amiya Lynn, visited the Fern Hill Library in the city’s South End to pick out a little reading material before heading home. Earlier in the day they packed a lunch and played in Wright Park.

“We got out early to beat the heat,” Smith said. By late afternoon, they would be heading to their home — which has a working air conditioner.

For those who want to join the ranks of the unsticky home, area businesses were on call.

“We’re staying very very busy,” said Angie McDonald, the office manager for All Seasons Heating & Climate Control, who worked Saturday to dispatch a technician where one was needed. “People who were on the fence about getting an air conditioner or a heat pump ... all of a sudden want one. ‘Can you install it tomorrow?’ ”

Well, no. It takes a few days. As McDonald put it, calling on Saturday was like “waiting until a snowstorm to buy a winter gloves and snowsuits.”

Don’t panic. With highs forecast in the 80s and 90s the next week, the heat-pocalypse will be around awhile.