The Heat Wave Is Literally Melting Portland’s Infrastructure

Train service has shut down and roads are buckling under a heat wave that climate experts say will only get more frequent.
Buckling road
Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation Twitter
Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 3
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The Pacific Northwest is experiencing a record-shattering heat wave with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in many locations, a virtually unheard of occurrence in that part of the world. This extreme heat is causing, among other problems, roads to buckle and public transit to shut down. 

In western Seattle, asphalt is literally baking to the point where it buckles up and away from the earth, making roads impassable. The Seattle National Weather Service Twitter account said tomorrow may be even worse, and warned to "remain vigilant on your commutes!"


In Portland, the public transit authority TriMet suspended light rail and streetcar service until Tuesday morning "due to extreme heat" because the heat is literally melting the power cables.

Climate experts have been warning for decades that extreme weather will become more frequent as climate change intensifies thanks to the world's collective failure to reduce emissions. Climate experts have broadly linked heat domes like the one over the Pacific Northwest with the effects of climate change. 

As the Pacific Northwest's infrastructure melts, Congress and the Biden administration continue to move forward with a bipartisan compromise infrastructure bill that experts predict will actually increase emissions because it spends more money on new emissions-increasing infrastructure than clean energy or environmental mitigation programs. 

The only thing more terrifying than living through the climate emergency we've been warned about our entire lives is the utter lack of response from the very people who should actually be doing something about it. Forecasters are predicting the temperature in Portland and Seattle on Tuesday will be 110 degrees.