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Is the Pacific Northwest heat wave melting infrastructure?

Answer: Yes.

sun
Shutterstock/Ed Connor
Unless you’ve been completely disconnected from any sort of news in the last week, you’ve probably heard about the very intense heat wave currently scorching the Pacific Northwest. From Southern California to Canada, places have been seeing record-high temperatures since the weekend. In fact, it got so hot on Sunday that the streetcars in Portland, Ore., had to shut down.

The Portland Streetcar Twitter account revealed that the shutdown, which was slated to extend through Monday as well, was necessary because the extreme heat melted power cables along the lines. The recorded high in Portland on Sunday was 112 degrees, with 114 degrees expected for Monday, way above average for the area.

“We have a climate crisis fueling cascading health, power and transportation crises,” said Constantine Samaras, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, commenting on Portland Streetcar’s tweet. "It’s time to do something.”

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