The medical examiner’s office in Washington state’s most populous county, which includes Seattle, reported six heat-related deaths after a heat wave swept through much of the Pacific Northwest last week.
In Oregon, the state medical examiner’s office said Monday it was investigating 14 deathsduring the hot spell.
According to the King County Coroner’s Office in Washington, three people — ages 64, 65 and 77 — died of hyperthermia between July 27 and 30, and three people — ages 22, 23 and 67 — died of accidental drowning during of the heat. The Seattle Times reported.
The data is preliminary and more heat-related deaths may be reported later, according to the medical examiner.
The National Weather Service issued an extreme heat warning for the Puget Sound region from July 26-31, and Seattle set a new record with six straight days of high temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, between Tuesday and Friday, there were 61 emergency room visits for heat-related illnesses in King County, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. And emergency medical services in King County responded to more than 50 reports of suspected heat-related illnesses between July 26 and July 31.
Climate change is fueling longer heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, an area where weekly heatwaves have been rare, climate experts say.
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 a record high of 116 degrees in Portland.