MERCURY melting temperatures have left 63 people dead in Oregon – including 45 in Portland alone – as a scorching heatwave continues to bring blackouts and wildfires across parts of the US and Canada.
Hyperthermia has been the cause of death to 45 people living in Portland since the heat rose to 116F earlier this week.
Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office defined hyperthermia as “an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the body to deal with heat coming from the environment,” according to KOIN.
Since Friday, the Beaver State, much of the Pacific Northwest and large swaths of Canada have suffered consecutive days of scorching temperatures.
The state’s police counted at least 63 people, ranging from age 44 to 97 and mostly men, having died on account of the hellish conditions.
Many were found alone without air conditioning or a fan to aid them through the fever, Reuters reported.
The invisible killer is called a “heat dome” – defined as a weather phenomenon that traps heat and blocks other weather conditions from changing it.
On Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency.
“I find that the State of Oregon is in a critical fire danger situation,” the declaration reads.
“Much of the state is now in extreme fire danger.”
Further heat and red flag warnings were also being issued for areas with arid and windy-prone parts of the state that are already dealing with dry thunderstorms.
The heat dome has posed a moving target for wildfires to ravage the already chapped North American landscape.
“Now is the time to make sure your emergency prep kit is ready to go in the case you are asked to evacuate,” the U.S. National Weather Service in Portland said, according to Reuters.
Several cooling stations have opened doors to help offset those suffering from the extreme conditions brought on by Mother Nature.
Independence Day in Portland will be free of fireworks after Portland Fire & Rescue Department banned them on Tuesday.
“Due to unusually hot temperatures and dry conditions, PF&R is announcing an immediate ban on the use of all legal and illegal fireworks,” their statement read.
So intense was the weather that Portland’s streetcar wires announced a temporary shutdown of service until restoring it on Tuesday.
The extreme weather has brought on a series of rolling blackouts.
As of Tuesday, some 4,667 of the 340,000 customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon Avista Corp. serves were experienced outages for the first time in history as unprecedented hot conditions didn’t let off, Bloomberg reported.
More than 21,000 were warned that they could also face disruptions, the company said.
Seattle saw 108F temperatures on Monday, causing two to die and hospitalizing more than 200.
Up north in Canada, various cities and towns have also been experiencing oven cooking conditions.
They are facing widespread catastrophe with 230 people dying as a result of the sweltering conditions.
The highest ever temperature recorded in Canada, 121.3F (49.6C) occurred in Lytton.
That smashed a 1937 record reading was 113F (45C) in Saskatchewan, according to CBC.
“In some of these places, their records are being annihilated,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, said.
“It really is spectacular, unprecedented for us.”
The death toll has continued to rise as a result of the head dome’s merciless length.
“Since the onset of the heatwave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory,” Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan warned: “We are in the midst of the hottest week British Columbians have ever experienced, and there are consequences to that, disastrous consequences for families and for communities.”
Vancouver police confirmed 53 “sudden deaths” since Tuesday and 98 total tied to the heat dome conditions.
Two-thirds of the victims are 70-years-old or older.
“Although still under investigation, heat is believed to be a contributing factor in the majority of deaths,” said Michael Kalanj, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to those who died in the heat wave while visiting Ottawa.
“We’ve been seeing more and more of this type of extreme weather event in the past years,” Trudeau said, according to Reuters.
“So realistically, we know that this heat wave won’t be the last.”
Like Oregon, Canada is in danger of widespread wildfires as a result of the heat dome, so more warnings are being sent to prepare.
“All the ingredients are there. It’s a powder keg just looking for a spark,” Mike Flannigan, professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta told Reuters.
The blistering heat conditions have been steaming parts of the East Coast.
The Tri-State area, made up of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey in particular, has been gripped with 90F temperatures combined with high humidity – making it feel much hotter.
People were seen cooling their feet and taking full-body dips in the fountains at the World War II National Mall.
Heat advisories were issued for much New York City with the mayor pushing for people to be cautious.
“The number one thing when we give you these warnings is, we’re trying to get you read to make adjustments in your day and not go about as business as usual,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to WABC.
“This is serious, serious heat.”
While most of the West and East ends of North America are trying to fend off blazing conditions as a result of the heat dome, places like Utah are being hit with torrential downpours.
Zion National Park received over an inch of rain in just an hour on Tuesday.
So tumultuous were the thunderstorms that the tourist destination’s main road was closed after massive flash flooding and mudslides, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Raging red floodwaters were witnessed swishing past properties shifting debris and sweeping the ground into moving mud.
The park and its hiking canyons were forced to shutdown while emergency rescues were launched to recover the stranded visitors.
The heavy rain coming down on the dry, unsaturated ground appeared to be the main cause for the rising water surge.
More concerning is that there are more thunderstorms expected, causing yet more flooding throughout the state’s national parks, KSLTV reports.