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The California heat wave killed 42 people in nine different counties

The California heat wave killed 42 people in nine different counties

Despite promises, California doesn’t know how many people died in record summer heat wave

By Amy Pyle, San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 2015


SAN FRANCISCO — It’s been nearly 50 years since a California heat wave ended in tragedy, but the summer of 2015 has been one of the deadliest in the state’s recorded history. On Friday, the death toll stood at 42 in nine different counties as the heat continued to pile on.

The heat has been so extreme that it was hard to tell how many Californians died in the record-breaking period of scorching temperatures. On Friday, the California Department of Health Care Services said the records would likely be updated by the end of the week. Still, the death toll was already at 40 as of early Saturday, the same day the number climbed above 100.

The latest figures from the State Department of Health indicate that as of noon Saturday, 42 people have died in nine different counties. Seventeen people died in Santa Clara County, 16 in Sonoma, 12 in Napa, 11 in Yolo, nine in Monterey, two in San Benito and two in Santa Cruz, according to the data.

“The number of people killed has really been a shock,” said Dr. Michael Weinstein, a public health expert with the San Francisco County Public Health Department. “It was never our expectation that we would see something like this, but we really didn’t have any idea that this would get so close to what we saw in the 50s and 60s.”

The heat wave of 2014-15 was the deadliest in the state’s recent history, killing 49 people. The heatwave last year peaked at 108 days. Now, the heat comes with a new twist: As much as a quarter of the state may not have received adequate amounts of heat-related warning and rescue services.

At the same time, the temperatures soared to near-record levels in all parts of the state. The Bay Area,

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