Massive Heat Wave Brings More Death to the Northwest
Concern spreads after at least 24 people are presumed to have died in the Northwest from another record hot week, with more deaths expected to be reported. In Seattle, 6 people died of heat related illness according to the King County Medical Examiner's office of Washington after setting a record for 6 days straight above 90 degrees. The deaths had a wide range of ages from 23 to 77 years old. Eastern Washington is reporting 3 more deaths with no ages listed so far. Officials are expecting the official account to climb as more numbers are counted over the next couple months.
In Oregon, they are investigating at least 15 more heat related deaths according to reports. In Portland, they also set a city record with 7 consecutive days over 95 degrees as of Sunday. Luckily, the over 95 degree heat wave streak ended on Monday with temperatures finally calming to the 80s this week. Officials are warning temperatures over 90 are expected back by the next weekend. Multnomah County had the highest death count with 7 in Oregon.
Last year around 800 people died from heat in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. There were 100 deaths in Washington alone during the span of a week from late June to July. Officials were caught off guard as long heat waves killed the vulnerable but hope changes to the systems will help people prepare this year. The most vulnerable to the heat were seniors and people living at home with medical conditions that did not have air conditioning. This year official hope changes like a contact network for communities and free cooling centers will help.
With more large outdoor Northwest events planned this weekend, officials are concerned. The Seafair hydroplane boat races are planned in Seattle and the Watershed concert series continues out at the Gorge for it's second weekend. Both events attract tens of thousands of people gathering in the sun all weekend. Let's hope they are all prepared and the Northwest doesn't loose any more from the heat.