From June 26 to July 2, 2021 the National Weather Service in Seattle reported a long-duration, unprecedented heat dome throughout the Pacific Northwest. This extreme heat event resulted in a high to very high risk of heat-related impacts/illness for much of the population, especially those that are heat sensitive and those without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration.2
Due to the 2021 heat dome, there were 157 heat-related deaths in Washington State and at least 19 heat-related deaths in Spokane County.2 Because heat deaths are not equally distributed in the community, it is important to consider their geographical distribution. The Gonzaga Climate Center created this map that indicates the heat-related deaths in 2021 from the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office.3
As climate change continues to worsen extreme heat events are expected to become more frequent and more deadly. The Spokane Beat the Heat program is aimed at helping Spokane understand, plan for, and respond to future extreme heat events. Every heat-related death is avoidable.
1 NOAA. What is a heat dome? National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/heat-dome.html, 7/7/2021.
2 Washington State Department of Health. 2021 Heat Dome, https://doh.wa.gov/emergencies/be-prepared-be-safe/severe-weather-and-natural-disasters/hot-weather-safety/heat-wave-2021
3 Spokane County Medical Examiner. Media Release Information, https://www.spokanecounty.org/3954/Media-Release-Information.