Deaths Rise as Heat Wave Stirs Canada, Pacific Northwest


hundreds of deaths British ColumbiaWashington and Oregon are linked by a heatwave that scorched the Pacific Northwest for days and swept Canada. temperature records, hundreds of thousands of people scrambling to help.

British Columbia chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said 486 deaths were reported between Friday and Wednesday afternoon – a period when normally around 165 deaths would be documented. He said deaths are expected to rise.

“While it is still too early to say definitively how many of these deaths were heat-related, it is believed that the significant increase in reported deaths could be attributed to the extreme weather conditions experienced by BC,” he said.

The Oregon state medical office on Wednesday attributed at least 63 deaths in five days to the punishing heat in that state, including 45 in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, where temperatures hit a record 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

In Washington, officials reported that nearly a dozen lives were lost to hyperthermia in King County, which includes Seattle, on Wednesday alone; Two heat-related deaths were reported there the day before.

At least three people have died from heat stroke this week, according to the Snohomish County, Wash., medical examiner’s office, adding that investigations into at least two suspected heat-related deaths are ongoing.

Multnomah County health officer Dr. “This was a real health crisis, underscoring how deadly the extreme heatwave can be, especially for people who are vulnerable in other situations,” Jennifer Vines said. said in a statement. “I know many county residents are looking out for each other, and I am deeply sorry for this initial death toll.”

This year a study found He said 37 percent of heat-related deaths could be linked to climate change. Experts say global warming has increased average temperatures by an average of 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.

“Climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves,” said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment. “When you look at this heat wave, it’s far outside the normal range.”

“The big lesson from the past days is that the climate crisis is not fiction,” John Horgan, the prime minister of British Columbia in Canada, said on Tuesday.

The heatwave in Canada has created an additional public health concern, even as authorities are still grappling with the challenge of the coronavirus and Canadians are starting to enjoy some of the pleasures of summer as restrictions ease.

On Tuesday, for the third consecutive day, British Columbia broke its previous record for extreme temperatures; In Lytton, a small town in the state, the temperature rose just over 121 degrees.

Such warmth that some Vancouverites keep scrambled eggs on their terraces. Others traded their sweltering homes for air-conditioned hotels or moved their home offices to shady spots in their yards.

sizzling temperatures It also endangered the crops of farmers in British Columbia by wilting lettuce and roasting raspberries.

Lyle Torgerson capturing the national weather He posted a video on Twitter It shows a bear and his two cubs plunging into his backyard pool in Coquitlam, British Columbia, on Sunday. “The heat is unbearable, but if you take a quick dive you’ll survive,” he told The New York Times in a post on Instagram.

The statement said the Vancouver Police Department had sent dozens of additional police to deal with the situation. While police typically attend an average of three to four sudden deaths a day, the ministry said it has responded to more than 98 calls since Friday, 53 of which occurred on Tuesday.

He also said that two-thirds of the victims were aged 70 or over.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before, and it breaks our hearts,” Sergeant Steve Addison said on Tuesday, noting that extreme heat was a contributing factor in the majority of cases.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Surrey, the metropolitan municipality of Vancouver, said in an email that it had responded to 35 sudden deaths in a 24-hour period.

The British Columbia bushfire service was also battling the effects of the heat wave, grappling with overheating helicopter engines as they tried to contain the severe bushfires. One was on Tuesday night, spanning nearly 5,700 acres on Sparks Lake, about five hours northeast of Vancouver.

Before this week’s record-breaking heat, the last time Canadian mercury rose to similar heights was on July 5, 1937, when the temperature reached 113 degrees Celsius in rural Saskatchewan.

Winston Choi-Schagrin contributing reporting.


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