Jul 1, 2021 - Science
Deaths surge in Pacific Northwest as temperatures hit all-time highs
Authorities in Canada, Oregon and Washington are investigating hundreds of deaths likely caused by the Pacific Northwest's worst heat wave on record, AP reports.
Driving the news: Temperatures in the region have shattered records since Friday. Extreme heat ranks as the nation's top weather-related killer annually, according to the National Weather Service.
- People in the region are not used to heat of this magnitude, which has made this event an acute health risk, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
The big picture: The office of the British Columbia chief coroner received reports of at least 486 "sudden and unexpected deaths" between Friday and Wednesday. Typically, around 165 die in the province over a five-day period.
- Oregon health officials said over 60 deaths in the state are tied to the heat, while Washington has reported more than a dozen heat-related deaths, according to AP.
- At least 45 deaths in Oregon's largest county were due to hyperthermia, or an abnormally high body temperature. The county saw only 12 hyperthermia deaths between 2017 and 2019.
- Those numbers are expected to rise, per AP.
- The heat wave has also driven more than 1,100 people to the hospital for possible heat-related illness as of Tuesday.