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Heat-related death reported in Seattle

Thu., July 30, 2009, 6:04 p.m.

Region’s high temperatures expected to cool

PORTLAND — Authorities reported the first death and a possible second linked to a Pacific Northwest heat wave Thursday even as days of record, triple-digit temperatures began to moderate.

King County Medical Examiner’s office said Thursday the victim was Allen J. Paul, 66, of Seattle. He also suffered from heart disease, and health officer Dr. David Flemming said such chronic ailments put additional stress on people.

A man in his 50s died Wednesday at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma of a heat-related illness, said Franciscan Health System spokesman Gale Robinette. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office was still investigating the death Thursday.

He was the hospital’s only heat-related patient Wednesday, but five people were brought to the hospital because of the heat Tuesday and three more Thursday, though nothing was life threatening, he said.

State Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer said Thursday afternoon he hadn’t been notified of any other heat-related deaths in Washington. He said he would only hear of heat-related deaths if a county medical examiner determined heat was a factor.

Oregon Heath and Science University has seen a number of cases of people with mild dehydration and heat stroke over the past couple days, said Dr. Amy Marr, who works in the emergency department, though she didn’t have an exact count. Marr expects more cases to crop up over the next few days.

Though temperatures around the region didn’t reach as high as earlier in the week, Thursday was still uncomfortably warm.

Portland was expected to peak near 100 degrees — six degrees shy of Wednesday’s high. Seattle was expected to land in the mid-90s after topping its all-time high of 100 by three degrees Wednesday.

“It’s still going to be pretty hot inland through the Willamette Valley,” said Tiffani Brown, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “Not as hot as it has been, but still pretty unlivable, really.”

Thermostats will continue to drop, leveling off near 85 by the beginning of next week in Portland and the mid- to high-70s in Seattle, Brown said.

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