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Heat-Related Deaths in America’s Fifth Largest City Have Nearly Doubled Since Last Year

© JIM WATSONThe sun shines through a saguaro cactus in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 7, 2024
The sun shines through a saguaro cactus in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 7, 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.07.2024
In Arizona, a 10-year-old boy died on Tuesday after experiencing a heat-related emergency while hiking with his family in a park and preservation area, the Phoenix Police Department said.
Heat-related deaths in Phoenix, Arizona have nearly doubled compared to the same period last year, The Guardian reported, citing the Maricopa county medical examiner. As of June 29, the number of possible heat-related deaths for the city stood at 175 - jumping 84% since the same period last year. At least 13 of those heat deaths have been confirmed while the other 162 deaths are under investigation.
This year in Phoenix, the average temperature for the month of June was the hottest ever recorded in the city, with low temperatures at night staying in the 90s Fahrenheit (higher than 32 degrees Celsius). For instance, the nightly low for June 27 was 95F (35C) which broke the record for the warmest overnight low in June - in 1990 that record was set at 93F (33.8C).
Deaths related to heat in Phoenix have been increasing every year by a staggering rate, despite efforts by the city and the state to address heat mortality and morbidity. So far this year, paramedics have responded to over 400 heat-related emergency calls, the Phoenix fire department said.
And sadly, this most recent milestone is just the beginning for Phoenix, as temperatures are expected to top 115F (46.11C) over the next few days, with a heat dome forecasted to continue to linger over Maricopa county as well as the south-west US.
And more than 150 million Americans across more than 20 states will face record breaking heat this weekend. The National Weather Service in San Francisco warned of temperatures in California ranging between 100 to 120 F (38 to 49C). Heat advisories fell into affect on Friday for the states of Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Nevada.
“It cannot be stressed enough that this is an exceptionally dangerous and lethal situation," the NWS in San Francisco said. “It may not seem so if you live near the coast, but an event of this scale, magnitude, and longevity will likely rival anything we’ve seen in the last 18 years for inland areas.”
Last summer, over 400 people died during a horrendous heat wave in metro Phoenix during a heat wave that saw temperatures of 110 F (43.3 C) or higher and that did not ease for over 30 days. A recent report confirmed 645 heat-related deaths for the whole year in Maricopa County - which is more than 50% higher than 2022 and a 700% rise over the past decade.
The preliminary report by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said that two-thirds of the county’s heat-related deaths in 2023 were those aged 50 years or older, and 71% occurred on days when the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning.
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