Columbia (AP) — More than 60 deaths in Oregon
have been linked to the Pacific Northwest
's historic heat wave
, according to health
officials, who are also investigating dozens of other deaths in Canada
, Washington state
, and elsewhere.
in Vancouver, British Columbia, said they had responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since the heat wave began on Friday, while authorities in Washington state were investigating more than a half-dozen deaths, which were likely to rise.
The heat wave was caused by a dome of high pressure over the Northwest, which was exacerbated by man-made climate change
The medical examiner in Multnomah County, Oregon's largest county, said in a statement that 45 of the 45 heat deaths it recorded were caused by hyperthermia, an abnormally high body
temperature caused by the body's inability to deal
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UPDATE; the original story from the Associated Press
can be found below.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The grim toll of the Pacific Northwest's historic heat wave became clearer Wednesday, with authorities in Canada, Washington state, and Oregon saying they were looking into dozens of deaths that were likely caused by temperatures that soared well above 100 degrees.
Since the heat wave began on Friday, police in Vancouver, British Columbia, have responded to more than 65 sudden deaths, while authorities in Washington and Oregon are investigating a dozen deaths.
“Vancouver has never experienced heat like this before, and sadly, dozens of people
are dying as a result,” said Vancouver police Sgt. Steve Addison in a statement.
The heat wave was caused by what meteorologists described as a dome of high pressure over the Northwest, and it was exacerbated by human-caused climate change, which is making such extreme weather
events more likely and more intense. Seattle
, Portland, and many other cities set all-time high temperatures, with temperatures reaching above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius) in some places.
Crews were closely monitoring wildfires
that could erupt due to the dangerous heat and drought
gripping the American West.
While temperatures in western Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia had dropped significantly by Wednesday, the interior regions were still in the triple digits as the weather system moved east.
Heat warnings were issued by the government's Environment
Canada agency for southern Alberta and Saskatchewan
on Wednesday, as well as parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho
, and Montana
In Alberta, Environment Canada said in a release that “a prolonged, dangerous, and historic heat wave will persist through this week.”
Extreme heat and humidity were also expected to increase the risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
Lisa Lapointe, British Columbia's chief coroner, said her office would normally receive about 130 death reports over a four-day period, but at least 233 deaths were reported from Friday to Monday afternoon, and coroners are determining whether the record-breaking heat played a role. Many homes in Vancouver, like Seattle, do not have air conditioning.
Two people died of hyperthermia, which means their bodies became dangerously overheated, according to the King County medical examiner's office, which covers the Seattle area.
The medical examiner's office in Everett, Washington, reported on Tuesday that three men, ages 51, 75, and 77, died in their homes after suffering from heatstroke.
Heat may have contributed to the deaths of four people in Bremerton, Washington, according to city officials.
The death of a worker at an Oregon plant nursery over the weekend was caused by heat, according to the employee safety agency Oregon OSHA
According to Andres Pablo Lucas, owner of Brother Farm Labor
Contractor, which sent the man and other workers to the nursery, the man was from Guatemala
and had apparently only recently arrived in the United States
The man, whose name has not been released
, died Saturday in sweltering heat at Ernst Nursery and Farms, a wholesale supplier in St. Paul
, 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Salem.
Pablo Lucas, speaking in Spanish, said that when workers gathered shortly after noon Saturday, they noticed someone was missing and began searching for him, eventually finding his body. Pablo Lucas said he didn't know the man's name.
Laborers frequently have the option of starting work around sunrise when it is cooler and stopping around midday, but Pablo Lucas said that some want to stay regardless of the heat.
“People want to work, they want to fight to succeed,” he explained, “so they stay.”
The United Farm Workers urged Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to issue emergency heat standards that would protect all farm and other outdoor workers in the state's thriving agricultural sector.
Because of the strain on the electrical grid caused by the heat, a utility in Spokane, Washington, imposed rolling blackouts. About 9,300 Avista Utilities customers lost power Monday, and the company said more planned blackouts began Tuesday in the city of about 220,000 people.
“We try to keep outages to one hour per customer,” said Heather Rosentrater, Avista’s vice president
She explained that the outages were caused by a distribution issue rather than a lack of electricity in the system.
Geranios contributed reporting from Spokane, Washington, and Andrew Selsky from Salem, Oregon, for the Associated Press.