SEATTLE - As near-record heat starts to build in Seattle and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, people unaccustomed to hot weather are taking reasonable precautions.
Cyclists hit the bike trail along I-90 on Mercer Island earlier than usual this morning, getting in a workout before the hottest part of the day.
“I was pleasantly surprised there was some cloud cover, so our ride would be cooler,” said Ellen Cohan as she prepared to mount her bike for a 90-minute ride.
Throngs of people at the annual Greenwood Car Show covered up with hats and sunscreen to protect themselves and their children.
"Giving them a lot of water to drink. Making sure they have sunscreen on,” said Pete Stankovich, whose two young children perked up when he added, “And eating a lot of ice cream."
High pressure building throughout the West prompted the National Weather Service issue a special statement warning that the heat might be especially difficult for the elderly.
"It makes me want to have a cold-water washcloth in my hands all the time and I can rub my face,” said Doris Hammett, who checked out the vintage car show as an outing from the senior center where she lives.
Humidity hovered around 50 percent at midday. It sapped some Mercer Island soccer players of their strength.
"In Seattle we're not used to that, so, it's been a lot different,” said Kevin Regan of Seattle, as he tossed a sweat-soaked t-shirt into a gym bag.
Firefighters are keeping a wary eye on the region’s forests, too. Lots of rain has created a bumper crop of fuel that can turn to tinder as the heat builds in the coming days.
In the city, homeowners prepped their homes as a respite from the heat. A Home Depot has sold out of portable air conditioners.
"We're going to get more in at the beginning of next week. In the meantime we've got our in-wall AC unit or in-window AC units. They've been selling well,” said assistant Home Depot manager Chuck Sly.
This weekend is just the beginning. The forecast calls for temperatures 10to 15 degrees above normal by early next week.