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Heat-related deaths pile up in Pima County

By July, 41 people had died from heat stroke in Pima County, according to the latest figures provided by the coroner’s office.

Including the migrants who died across the border, the tragic number rises to 64.

The confirmed increase in heat-related deaths comes after Pima County endured the hottest July on record, with excessive heat warnings in place over the weekend.

Since May, 16 residents have died due to excessive heat throughout Pima County. Of those, 13 occurred in July, and nine occurred indoors, according to the data.

The county’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Greg Hess, said the number of heat-related deaths is expected to eventually increase in July.

“It won’t be over in July,” Hess said on Friday. “Was last summer busy? Yes. Were we tracking the heat like we were this summer? No.”

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Hess was referring to the county’s newly updated content. data dashboard It tracks heat deaths, heat-related deaths, and heat deaths.

Heat deaths are deaths in which heat is the primary contributing factor. A heat-related death is when environmental factors are the main cause or a significant contributor to human death. And those labeled as heat deaths imply that heat is a factor, but not necessarily the primary factor.

Of the 41 heat-related deaths in Pima County, approximately equal proportions of deaths occurred indoors and outdoors. About 66% of those who died were male, and most were over the age of 60.

“Heat has a greater impact on different demographics of people,” says Hess. “Older people are more susceptible to heat because their physiological responses to keep cool are less robust.”

“[The elderly] It seems more likely that you don’t have an air conditioner, or your air conditioner is broken, or you have turned it off for some reason. . . We found these people in their homes, but their air conditioners were broken or not turned on. “

In 2022, Pima County recorded 28 deaths from heat. As of August 2, the county has 16 people.

“Maybe we’re on track, or maybe we’re a little ahead, but we’re not ‘leap’ ahead,” Hess said. “It wasn’t very hot until July, but it’s going to be hot again this weekend and into August,” he said. We expect the number of heat-related deaths to decline fairly quickly.”

Maricopa County has so far announced 39 confirmed heat-related deaths through July 29.

Pima County is reporting more cases than Maricopa County at the moment, Hess said, because it handles cases here more quickly. Pima County’s death toll will likely be “about a third” of Maricopa County’s when the final tally is reached, he said.

Pima and Maricopa counties are keeping frozen body trailers on standby in case morgues are at capacity, The Associated Press reported. report this week..

The average temperature in the Tucson metropolitan area in July was 94.3 degrees Celsius, nearly three degrees higher than the previous record of 91.5 degrees Celsius set in July 2020, according to intelligence agencies. twitter Posted by the Tucson National Weather Service. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the average temperature last month was four degrees higher than the average for July.

Several weather records were broken last month. Phoenix has had temperatures above 110 degrees Celsius for 31 days in a row. From June 16th to August 2nd, Tucson had a record 48 consecutive days with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Celsius.

A series of recent monsoon storms in Pima County eased some of the heat, but the Bureau of Meteorology issued an excessive heat warning for much of southern and southwest Arizona over the weekend.

Afternoon temperatures can range from 104 to 113 degrees across the region.

Temperatures are expected to reach 110 degrees Celsius on Saturday and Sunday, according to the Tucson National Weather Service.

The chance of rain and thunderstorms is expected to be minimal over the weekend. However, the chance of storms will increase slightly early next week.

Arizona’s record high temperatures are killing the saguaro cacti at the Desert Botanical Garden.

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