The Pacific Northwest is going through a record-breaking heat wave – it also has the lowest rates of AC units in the country

Air conditioning systems placed on buildings in West New York , New Jersey on May 04 2021.
Air conditioning systems placed on buildings in West New York , New Jersey on May 04 2021. Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images
  • The western part of the US is going through a record heatwave, particularly the Pacific Northwest.
  • Several Pacific Northwest cities also have the lowest rates of air-conditioning.
  • Only 44% of homes in Seattle, for example, are air-conditioned.
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The western part of the US is experiencing a record heatwave – particularly the Pacific Northwest – and many in this region also have the lowest rates of air conditioning in the country.

“If you’re keeping a written list of the records that will fall, you might need a few pages by early next week,” tweeted the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Seattle reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, the National Weather Service reported, making it the hottest June day on record. However, according to 2019 statistics from the US Census Bureau, the city is the least air-conditioned in the country with only 44% of homes being air-conditioned, the Associated Press reported. The city in Washington state is known for its cooler temperatures and rain.

James Bryant who lives in Seattle told the AP he bought an AC in anticipation of the heat.

“My house is already hot, and so with the added heat over the next few days, I’ve got kids. I got to make sure they don’t get too hot as well,” Bryant said. “It seems to be a trend … So I’m not sure what’s driving it, but it’s not fun, that’s for sure.”

The heatwave is also especially concerning for the states growing homeless population who may not have access to places to cool down.

Washington state saw a 6.2% rise in homelessness in 2020 compared to the year prior, a US Department of Housing and Urban Development report found.

Other Washington cities like Spokane are also having record highs and have low rates of air conditioning, The Washington Post reported. Portland, Oregon, too, is experiencing record heat and low rates of AC units.

On Saturday, the National Weather Service in Portland said it expected the area to shatter records again on Sunday forecasting temperatures between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Post reported that several cities plan to open extra cooling centers to help those lacking air conditioning get relief from the extreme heat.