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Amazon opens a cooling center at Seattle headquarters during heatwave

Amazon opens a cooling center at Seattle headquarters during heatwave

June 30, 2021: -Amazon is turning part of its Seattle headquarters into a public cooling center as the Pacific Northwest grapples with a record-breaking heatwave.

The air-conditioned cooling center is present at the Amazon Meeting Center, part of the South Lake Union campus in downtown Seattle. The site has room for nearly 1,000 individuals, according to the city of the website of Seattle. However, many homes in the area lack air conditioning, as the climate of Seattle is usually temperate.

The meeting center is a throw of stone from the Amazon Spheres or the glass orbs that anchor its downtown Seattle campus. Previously, Amazon converted the meeting center into a pop-up clinic to administer Covid-19 vaccines earlier this year.

Unprecedented heat waves sweep the Pacific Northwest, pushing daytime temperatures into the triple digits and causing power outages in few parts of the region. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Seattle ticked above 100 degrees by Monday, marking the first time on record the city has had three consecutive triple-digit days.

Before this week, the city only had three days in the last 126 years where the temperature hit 100, according to a National Weather Service spokesperson quoted by Scientific American. However, scientists say that climate change is making such highly high temperatures more common.

On Sunday, the Seattle Times reported that Amazon warehouses in Kent, Washington, remained open even with the intense heat. One facility in the Kent warehouse complex ran “power hours” in some departments. Workers were asked to move as quickly as possible for an hour to juice productivity, the Times reported, citing workers at the facility. Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti denied that the company ran power hours at that facility.

On Sunday, Portland saw temperatures reach a record high of 112 degrees just after reaching a high temperature of 108 degrees. The expectation of the National Weather Service is that the temperatures in Portland could increase by nearly 114 degrees by Monday, which breaks the heat record for the third consecutive day.

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