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

August 2, 2022 GMT
The International Fountain at Seattle Center is packed with children as they run from the water that is showering on them Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)
The International Fountain at Seattle Center is packed with children as they run from the water that is showering on them Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)
The International Fountain at Seattle Center is packed with children as they run from the water that is showering on them Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)
The International Fountain at Seattle Center is packed with children as they run from the water that is showering on them Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)
The International Fountain at Seattle Center is packed with children as they run from the water that is showering on them Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in Seattle. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)

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).

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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.