"The Pacific Northwest heat wave in late June was a mass casualty event,
officials said. Hundreds of people likely died in the multi-day,
record-breaking heat, and the death toll continues to rise.
Officials are still investigating the cause of dozens of deaths that occurred
during that time, but at least 83 people died from heat-related illness in
Oregon, 54 of which were in Multnomah County, which includes Portland. Many of
those people were older, living alone, and without functioning air
conditioning, according to a a preliminary report on excessive heat deaths
released by the county Tuesday.
In Washington, at least 78 people died. Across the border in British Columbia,
officials counted nearly 800 deaths from June 25 to July 1 -- 500 more than
normal for that time period and which they believe are tied to the heat,
according to Lisa Lapointe, the chief coroner for the province. In reality, it
could be months before we know the final toll.
Despite the staggering statistics, there was no obvious sense of urgency around
the tragedy as it played out -- nothing similar to a hurricane making landfall,
a gunman opening fire in a night club or a wildfire destroying a town. They
were hundreds of quiet deaths from an invisible disaster: unprecedented heat,
which dozens of scientists concluded was "virtually impossible" without climate
Scientists and psychologists told CNN the response has to do with how humans
Via Robert Sanscartier.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics