The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

The Pacific Northwest Is So Blazing Hot That Roads Are Buckling

The infrastructure of the Pacific Northwest just can't keep up with the record-breaking heat.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled The Pacific Northwest Is So Blazing Hot That Roads Are Buckling
Photo: WSDOT North

Much of the country has been battling sizzling heat waves this summer. In the Pacific Northwest, temperatures were so high over the weekend that power cables melted and roads buckled.

Temperatures are so extreme that infrastructure across the country can’t handle it. As KIRO 7 News reports, the heat is causing roads all over the Puget Sound to buckle.


On Monday, Seattle hit 108 degrees, smashing the National Weather Service’s all-time high temperature of 104 degrees for the area. Portland, Oregon, was 115 degrees on Saturday and 112 degrees on Sunday before hitting 116 on Monday. According to Census data, fewer than half of Seattle’s residents have an air-conditioner.


A couple in Dayton, Oregon, told KOIN 6 they learned the road outside was buckling because it actually shook their house.

Tiffany Prather said she was making dinner in the kitchen and her husband Andrew was in his office when the entire house started shaking.

“We both just blurt like, ‘Did you just feel that?’ And it was kind of like, felt like something like maybe somewhere like hit a brick wall,” Tiffany described.

That house-shaking crack lifted the pavement up about six to eight inches.

Portland’s light rail and street car service had to shutter due to melting power cables and a power grid strained to the limit. Businesses, schools and even swimming pools had to close down because of the extreme heat. Bridges are having a hard time, too, from KHON 2:

Workers in tanker trucks in Seattle were hosing down drawbridges with water at least twice a day to keep them cool to prevent the steel from expanding in the heat and interfering with their opening and closing mechanisms.


The Pacific Northwest isn’t alone. Heat waves elsewhere have caused roads to buckle in Utah and all the way out to the Midwest, too.

I recently embarked on a trip out west for a press event. While there I couldn’t comprehend the extreme temperatures. Imagine putting your face right next to the open flames of a campfire, that’s how hot it was.


Thankfully, temperatures are already decreasing to far more reasonable levels. Hopefully, this wild summer of too much heat and too much rain settles down from here.