It will take several weeks to find out the cause of Thursday's death. The news was nevertheless a blow to authorities, who were criticised after hundreds died in Oregon, Washington and western Canada during a much hotter heatwave in June. This was caused by climate change.
The forecasted triple-digit temperatures in Portland on Friday for the third day were somewhat dampened by thick clouds of wildfire smoke. However, the city still reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) Seattle was at 88 F (31 C).
According to the National Weather Service, heat warnings and advisories were in effect for the Midwest, Northeast, and mid-Atlantic until Friday.
Forecasters said hot weather and smoke from wildfires in the Northwest would pose a problem through the weekend. Lightning sparked two new fires in southern Oregon late Thursday that churned rapidly through vegetation sucked dry of moisture by an extreme drought in the U.S. West.
A high-level air quality alert was issued for most of northwestern Washington on Saturday night due to smoke from fires in the eastern portion of Washington and British Columbia. The sky above Portland was darkened by an orange glow.
On Thursday, Portland saw temperatures rise to 103 F (39 C), 20 degrees higher than the average. Bellingham, Washington saw a record-breaking 100 F (38 C) high, while Seattle was in the 90s.
This is the second major heat wave in less that a month in a region without air conditioning.
A detailed scientific analysis found the June heat was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. Yale Climate Connections meteorologist Jeff Masters said that a similar study with other heat waves would be needed, but there is a general connection between global warming and worsening Heat Waves.
Masters, cofounder of private Weather Underground, stated that increasing your baseline temperature will greatly increase your chances of experiencing extreme heat events.
July became Earth's hottest month in 142 years of recordkeeping, with the globe averaging 62.07 F (16.73 C) that month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.
In Oregon, Gov. Governor Kate Brown declared an emergency in Oregon over the heat, and activated an emergency operation center. Cooling centers have been opened by the city and county governments. Public library hours have been extended and bus fare waivers for those who are going to cooling centres has been made. The state has a 24-hour helpline that can direct people to the closest cooling shelter or give them safety tips.
Authorities scrambled to provide relief to the vulnerable this week, including low-income older people and those living outdoors. On Thursday, Oregon volunteers distributed water, portable fans and popsicles to homeless people living in the outskirts Portland.
Scott Zalitis was dressed in his shirtless, and he ate lime-green popsicles that were given out by a non-profit group on Thursday. Volunteers reported that his campsite was at 105 F (41 C) on the previous day.
"It's miserable. It's unbearable. It's too hot. It's too hot even in the shade," Zalitis stated. "You want somewhere cool and as cool as you can."
Due to the high temperatures, all seven city's outdoor pools were closed Thursday and Friday afternoons. The line of people waiting to cool down stretched more than a block before the city closed its outdoor pools.