Seattle area had six deaths blamed on last week’s heat wave

SEATTLE (AP) — The medical examiner’s office in Washington state’s most populous county, which includes Seattle, has reported six heat-related deaths following a heat wave that encompassed much of the Pacific Northwest last week.

In Oregon, the state medical examiner’s office has said it was investigating 14 deaths as possibly heat-related during the hot spell.

According to the King County Medical Examiner’s office in Washington, three people — ages 64, 65 and 77 — died from hyperthermia between July 27 and 30 and three people — ages 22, 23 and 67 — died from accidental drownings during the heat wave, The Seattle Times reported.

The data is preliminary and more heat-related deaths might be reported later, according to the medical examiner.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Puget Sound region from July 26-31, and Seattle set a new record with six consecutive days of high temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius).

Additionally, between Tuesday and Friday, 61 emergency department visits for heat-related illness were recorded in King County, according to Public Health — Seattle & King County. And emergency medical services in King County responded to over 50 suspected heat-related illness reports between July 26 and July 31.

Climate change is fueling longer heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, a region where weeklong heat spells had been rare, according to climate experts.

Last year, about 800 people died in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia during a heat wave in late June and early July. The temperature hit an all-time high of 116 F (46.7 C) in Portland.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.