At least 69 killed as heatwave grips US, Canada

At least 69 killed as heatwave grips US, Canada

At least 69 people in the Vancouver area have died as a record-smashing heat wave engulf western Canada as well as US Pacific Northwest, as stated by police, Tuesday.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), most of the fatalities in the Vancouver suburbs of Burnaby and Surrey during the past 24 hours were either elderly or people with underlying health conditions.

"Although still unclear and under investigation, the heat wave is believed to be a contributing factor behind the majority of the deaths," stated RCMP Corporal Michael Kalanj.

Due to climate change, record-setting temperatures have become more frequent. Worldwide, the decade to 2019 was recorded as the ‘hottest’, and the five hottest years have occurred during were last five years.

The scorching heat stretching from Oregon to Canada´s Arctic territories has been held responsible on a high-pressure bank trapping warm air in the region.

Canada set a new high-temperature record of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.9 degrees Celsius) on Monday, in Lytton in British Columbia, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Vancouver.

Temperatures in the US Pacific Northwest cities of Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington reached high levels which were not observed since record-keeping started in the 1940s. It was 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland and 108 in Seattle, as per the National Weather Service.

Environment Canada (a department of Canada govt responsible for coordinating environmental policies) has issued alerts for few areas including British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, stating that the "prolonged, dangerous and historic heatwave will continue throughout this week."

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The US National Weather Service issued a warning, “to stay in air-conditioned buildings, drink plenty of water, avoid exhausting outdoor activities and keep a check on family members/neighbours."