Hundreds of deaths could be related to the heat wave in the Northwest

SALEM, Oregon: The dire toll of the historic Pacific Northwest heat wave became more apparent when authorities in Canada, Oregon and Washington state announced on Wednesday that they are investigating hundreds of deaths likely caused by scorching temperatures that set historic records in break the United States. usually temperate region.
British Columbia chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said her office had received reports of at least 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” between Friday and Wednesday. Typically, he said that in the Canadian province, about 165 people would die in five days.
“While it’s too early to be certain how many of these deaths are heat-related, it is believed that the significant increase in reported deaths is likely due to extreme weather,” LaPointe said in a statement.
Many Vancouver homes, like Seattle, have no air conditioning, so people are ill-prepared for high temperatures.
“Vancouver has never seen heat like this and unfortunately dozens of people die from it,” said Vancouver Police Sgt. Steve Addison said in a statement.
Oregon health officials said more than 60 deaths have been linked to heat, with the state’s largest county, Multnomah, blaming the weather for 45 deaths since temperatures rose on Friday. At least 20 deaths in Washington state have been linked to the heat, a number that is expected to rise.
The heat wave was caused by what meteorologists described as the high pressure dome over the northwest, and exacerbated by man-made climate change, making these extreme weather events more likely and more intense. Seattle, Portland, and many other cities have all broken heat records, with temperatures in some places exceeding 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).
While temperatures in western Washington, Oregon and British Columbia had cooled significantly by Wednesday, inland regions were still sweating at triple-digit temperatures as the weather system moved between mountains and plains from east to west.
Amid the dangerous heat and drought in the western United States, crews watched wildfires that can explode in extreme weather conditions.
Heat warnings have been set for parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, as well as Saskatchewan and southern Alberta, where “an ongoing, dangerous and historic heat wave will continue this week,” Environment Canada said.
“The temperatures recorded this week are unprecedented, human lives have been killed and the risk of forest fires is dangerously high,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In Oregon, the Multnomah County coroner made 45 heat deaths attributed to hyperthermia, an abnormally high body temperature caused by the body’s inability to handle heat. The victims were between 44 and 97 years old.
The county that Portland is a part of said there were only 12 deaths from hyperthermia in all of Oregon between 2017 and 2019.
“This has been a real health crisis that has shown how deadly an extreme heat wave can be, especially for those at risk,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, the county health officer, in a statement.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which covers an area that includes Seattle, said Wednesday that a total of 13 people had died from heat-related causes. In neighboring Snohomish County, three men ages 51, 75 and 77 died after suffering heat stroke in their homes, the coroner’s office told the Daily Herald on Tuesday in Everett, Washington. Four deaths have also been linked to heat in Kitsap County west of Seattle.
In western Washington, the Spokane Fire Department found two dead in an apartment building on Wednesday who had suffered symptoms of heat-related stress, television station KREM reported.
The heat caused an electricity company in Spokane to impose power outages due to tensions in the power grid. Avista Utilities tries to limit the downtime to one hour per customer.
Heather Rosentrater, Avista’s vice president of power supply, said the outages were a distribution problem, not a result of a lack of power in the system.
Renee Swecker, 66, of Clayton, Wash., Visited a fountain in Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane with her grandchildren Wednesday and said they go everywhere they go

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