State News
July 11, 2018

Four deaths associated with recent hot spell

By John Young, VTDigger

As temperatures climbed into the 90s again Monday, the Vermont Department of Health is again warning Vermonters to take precautions to fight the effects of record-high heat.

Spokesman Ben Truman said that residents should pay special attention to older adults, children and those with chronic illnesses to make sure they have access to cool shelter and plenty of fluids. Additional information can be found on the department’s website.

The department reported Monday, July 9, that four deaths have been associated with last week’s extreme heat.

Milton police found the body of Mary Couture, 57, at her home on the Fourth of July. The state medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was hyperthermia but that other health factors may have contributed. Her two dogs also were found dead in the home, which did not have air conditioning.

The death of Mary Myott, 79, of Essex Junction the previous day also was attributed to hyperthermia by the medical examiner, who said the temperatures in her home had reached 115 degrees. Other health issues also may have played a part in Myott’s death.

The was no additional information available on the other two deaths.

Between May 1999 and September 2012, Vermont averaged seven hot days a year — defined as those during which temperatures reached 87 degrees or higher — according to state health department statistics. Deaths during those periods averaged 6.4. Thus far in 2018, Vermont has had eight hot days resulting in the four deaths.

There were no official reports on emergency room visits, although some centers did report an uptick.

“Over the past few days, we have had approximately 14 people come into our emergency department with heat-related illnesses,” said Peg Bolgioni, spokesperson for Rutland Regional Medical Center. “All were treated and released.”

Last week was one of the hottest on record for Vermont, along with many other states and nations around the globe. More than 113 million Americans were under heat related health advisories last week.

Burlington hit a record high for a low temperatures on July 2 when the mercury did not dip below 80 degrees. The heat wave began June 30 and continued through July 6, the highest temperatures in the state for each day were posted at 91, 94, 99, 97, 95, 97 and 96.

A shortage of air conditioners was a problem for individuals and businesses as more than a dozen stores in the Burlington area sold out of cooling units, according to myChamplainValley.com.

The impact of the heat wave was also felt in nearby Quebec, where more than 50 deaths — including 28 in Montreal — were attributed to the heat.

The highest temperature across Vermont during last week’s heat wave was reported in Charlotte on July 2 with a reading of 99 degrees, the National Weather Service in Burlington said. Monday, the high temperature across the state was 91.

Temperatures in Vermont are expected to dip into the 80s on Tuesday, July 10, and stay in that general range for the rest of the week. With lows in the mountains expected to reach into the 40s in some places.

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