Friday, December 3, 2021

Deaths surge in US and Canada from worst heatwave on record

A heatwave that smashed all-time high temperature records in western Canada and the Northwest U.S. has left hundreds dead in its wake. In British Columbia, at least 486 sudden deaths were reported over five days, nearly three times the usual number that would occur in the province over that period.

The state of Oregon reported 63 deaths linked to the heatwave. Multnomah County, which includes Portland, reported 45 deaths since Friday, with the county Medical Examiner citing hyperthermia as the preliminary cause. Oregon had only 12 deaths from hyperthermia from 2017 to 2019. Across the state, hospitals reported a surge of hundreds of cases in recent days due to heat-related illness, the Oregon Health Authority said.

The heat dome, a weather phenomenon trapping heat and blocking other weather systems from moving in, weakened as it moved east, but was still intense enough to set records from Alberta to Manitoba, said a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, a government agency.

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