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“Very hot” – heat duration records could fall in the North West | Radio WGN 720

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Extreme heat is expected to extend through the weekend in the Pacific Northwest and authorities are investigating whether triple-digit temperatures were to blame for the death of at least four people.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office said at least three people died of suspected hyperthermia during the heat wave in Multnomah County, home to Portland. A fourth death has been suspected due to heat in eastern Umatilla County.

The deaths occurred on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The state medical examiner’s office said the heat-related death designation was preliminary and subject to change.

Oregon and Washington have been experiencing scorching temperatures since July 25 and there will be no relief, forecasters say, until Monday when cool air from the Pacific Ocean blows in.

Portland and Seattle could be on track to break records for the duration of the heat wave.

Temperatures in Oregon’s largest city are expected to climb further to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 Celsius) on Friday. On Tuesday, Portland set a daily record of 102 F (38.9 C). Portland could also be on track to break a record for the duration of the heat wave

Seattle also reported a new daily high of 94 F (34.4 C) on Tuesday.

If temperatures rise above 90°F (32.2°C) through Sunday in Seattle, that would be six straight days of mercury above 90°C – something forecasters say has never happened before in the city. Portland could also break the heat wave duration marks.

The National Weather Service has extended excessive heat warnings from Thursday through Saturday night.

Courtney Lewis and Rylee Griffin were visiting Seattle this week during the heat wave.

“I mean it’s nice, like to help with a tan. But it’s just hot. Very hot,” Griffin said.

Climate change is fueling longer heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, a region where weeklong heat spells were historically rare, climate experts say.

Residents and officials in the North West have been trying to adjust to the likely reality of longer, hotter heat waves after last summer’s deadly ‘heat dome’ weather phenomenon brought record high temperatures and deaths.

About 800 people died in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia during this heat wave, which hit in late June and early July. The temperature at the time soared to a record high of 116 F (46.7 C) in Portland and broke heat records in cities and towns across the region. Many of those who died were older and lived alone.

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Associated Press videographer Manuel Valdes contributed from Seattle

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Claire Rush is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow her on Twitter.