Did Washington’s Record Heat Death Toll Include Yakima Victims?
The numbers are in from around the Northwest and according to the Associated Press, Washington state’s death toll from last month’s record-breaking Pacific Northwest heat wave has risen to 78. Oregon's death toll from last weekend's record-smashing heat wave has risen to 116.
To give that some perspective, the state Department of Health said that in comparison, there were just seven heat-related deaths in Washington from mid-June to the end of August last year and from 2015 to 2020 there were a total of 39 deaths.
Yesterday the state medical examiner from Oregon released an updated list of fatalities from the heat wave that added nine deaths. Of the 116 deaths recorded, the youngest victim was 37 and the oldest was 97.
The AP reports that In Portland's Multnomah County, where most of the deaths occurred, many victims had no air conditioners or fans and died alone.
In Yakima, County Coroner Jim Curtice reviewed the "natural occurrences" death toll since June 26th and has added seven victims with heart disease to the list of those fatally compromised by the intense heat with two more investigation results pending. All 9 victims were men ranging in age from 35 to 90.
The situation appears to be even worse to the North of Washington where The UK Guardian is reports as many as " 500 people may have been killed by record-breaking temperatures in Canada’s westernmost province. British Columbia’s chief coroner said that 719 “sudden and unexpected deaths” had been reported over the past week – triple the number during a similar period in a typical year."
An article in Today's Yakima Herald Republic by the Associated Press's Seth Borenstein said the deadly heat wave was "virtually impossible" to have occurred without the contributing factor of man-made climate change.