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Extreme heat has killed at least 27 in the past week - and the toll is rising

Most of the heat-related deaths have been reported in California and Oregon, but high temperatures have caused deaths as far east as Maryland

A searing heat wave that has gripped much of the United States in recent days is suspected of killing at least 27 people in the last week, according to reports from state officials, medical examiners and news outlets.

The number, which is based on preliminary reports from California, Oregon and Arizona, is likely to grow as authorities assess the death toll of a heat wave that began last week, delivering record-breaking temperatures throughout the West and scorching East Coast cities. As of Wednesday, more than 135 million people across the Lower 48 were under heat alerts, many of which are expected to continue until the weekend.

Most of the deaths have been reported in California, where the heat broke daily records late last week in a handful of major cities, including San Jose, Fresno and Oakland. In Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, Chief Medical Examiner Michelle Jordan said her office is investigating 14 cases where people appear to have died from heat-related causes.


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