The Death toll in California: The heat wave and the death toll

Despite promises, California doesn’t know how many people died in record summer heat wave, as many as 600 have been confirmed dead statewide

‘It’s really cold outside’: California’s deadly summer of heat


12:26PM BST 05 Sep 2013

More deaths are likely to be discovered as the medical examiner’s office tries to cope with the mass number of people it has yet to identify as dead.

A state of emergency was declared in May when the state recorded a record 117 daily temperature records, setting the state aside as one of the hottest places in the US.

But as the month of August came to a conclusion, there were not enough bodies to go around.

There are so many still to identify that medical examiners are increasingly turning to the public for help.

More than 600 deaths have been officially registered across the state since the current heat wave started in June.

And a number of other deaths are suspected but not recorded as they haven’t been reported to the coroner’s office.

Here are the facts as the death toll has risen:

At least 534 deaths were officially recorded across the state as temperatures soared between the end of May and the end of August. But many more people died in the absence of death being registered in the coroner’s office

The peak of the heat wave coincided with the hottest June on record in California, but there were also several months when the temperature were in the middle of the scale

Since then, the heat wave has been followed by two separate heat waves

The heat wave peaked at around 10.25, and 12th August was the hottest day ever for the state. By 14th August, the average daily temperature had plummeted to 8.3C (47.3F)

A number of residents were rescued from their homes when the temperatures rose to over 39C (105F) in the region

One death has been registered in Santa Barbara County, where the temperature hit a record-breaking 39.7C (103F) in mid August

The hottest 24 hours recorded in July was 38.5C (103F) last month when four people died in the region

Death toll

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