Ted S. Warren / AP
Dozens of deaths along the US West Coast and in the Vancouver metropolitan area in Canada are attributed to an ongoing record-breaking heat wave.
Authorities said at least six deaths in Washington and Oregon could be due to the heat wave that began in the region on Friday.
Temperatures in Portland exceeded at least 116 degrees on Monday after at least three days of record temperatures. The area is now cooling down, according to the National Weather Service, but the heat left its mark.
State health officials in Oregon said Tuesday there was a sharp increase in emergency department visits for heat-related illnesses during the hot period. Hundreds of Oregonians have visited emergency rooms for heat-related illnesses since Friday.
In Seattle, temperatures reached at least 108 degrees at one point and in Spokane, temperatures reached 109 degrees, the highest temperature ever recorded there.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office in Washington said two people died from hyperthermia, a condition in which their bodies become dangerously overheated. according to The Seattle Times.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office reported Tuesday that three men ages 51 to 77 died after suffering heatstroke at home. according to the Daily Herald in Everett, Wash.
The CDC said that during 2004-2018 the US averaged 702 heat-related deaths per year (415 with heat as an underlying cause and 287 as a contributing cause).
According to the World Health OrganizationHeat waves are considered one of the most dangerous natural hazards, but they rarely receive adequate attention because their deaths and destruction are not always immediately obvious. From 1998 to 2017, more than 166,000 people around the world died from heat waves.
Canadian police respond to extreme heat wave
The Canadian province of British Columbia suffered a record high of about 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the past four days of “extreme heat,” authorities said Tuesday.
The U.S. National Weather Service noted that temperatures reached 121 degrees in Lytton, BC
At least 233 people died in the province between Friday and Monday, about 100 more than the average for a four-day period, authorities said.
This week it looks like the spooky trend may continue. As of 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, officers had responded to 20 sudden death calls that day alone, Simi Heer, director of public affairs for the Vancouver Police Department, tweeted.
The causes of these deaths are still under investigation, police said, but heat is believed to be a contributing factor in most of these cases. Most of the victims were older people.
The Vancouver Police Department saying heat-related deaths have “depleted front-line resources and severely delayed response times across the city.” They are reassigning dozens of officers and pleading that people only call 911 during an emergency.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) urged the people in the Greater Vancouver area to monitor loved ones and neighbors as the heat wave continues.