Arizona’s Maricopa County has a new record for heat-associated deaths after the hottest summer
Oct 19, 2023, 2:20 PM
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Maricopa County set a new record Thursday for annual heat-associated deaths, with 425 tallied so far this year, the same number confirmed for all of 2022.
Maricopa County, the hottest metropolitan area in the U.S. and home to Phoenix, said the 425 deaths were confirmed as of Oct. 14. Another 199 deaths remained under investigation.
As of the same time last year, 359 heat-associated deaths had been confirmed, with another 91 deaths still being studied.
“Even with extreme heat like we saw this summer, these deaths are preventable,” said a statement from Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for the Maricopa County Department of Health. “This tragic record reminds us that as a community, we have more work to do to prevent these deaths.”
No other major metropolitan area in the U.S. has reported such high heat-associated death figures or spends so much time tracking and studying them.
This summer, Phoenix experienced the hottest three months since record-keeping began in 1895, including the hottest July and the second-hottest August. The daily average temperature of 97 F (36.1 C) in June, July and August passed the previous record of 96.7 F (35.9 C) set three years ago.
Phoenix also set a record in July with a 31-day streak of highs at or above 110 F (43.3 C).