First death from California heat wave reported

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – A 77-year-old man was found dead in his mobile home amid triple-digit temperatures in California’s San Joaquin Valley in the first reported death blamed on a weeklong statewide heat wave, authorities said Wednesday.

The man, whose name has not been released, was found on the floor of the mobile home in Ceres, south of Modesto, Tuesday night, the Stanislaus County Health Department said in a statement.

A malfunctioning air conditioner was blasting hot air in the home at more than 100 degrees, and an autopsy Wednesday determined the cause was heat and other medical conditions, the statement said.

For seven days, the state has felt record temperatures far exceeding 100 degrees at times, and deaths were reported in similar heat in Nevada, but the Ceres man’s death was the first attributed to the heat in the current California surge. Officials especially in the scorching Central Valley are worried it won’t be the last.

“This unfortunate loss is a tragic reminder of how dangerous the valley heat can be,” said Dr. John Walker, Stanislaus County Public Health Officer. “It is essential that our county residents protect themselves and their neighbors.” Walker urged people to frequently check on sick and elderly friends, family and neighbors.

Fresno and Bakersfield had temperatures of nearly 110 degrees Wednesday, and Redding followed Tuesday’s record of 116 degrees with a 113-degree high Wednesday.

In Southern California, Palm Springs had a high of 111, and Blythe, near the Arizona border, reached 113.

Excessive heat is expected to spill into the July Fourth holiday for much of the state, with weather warnings in place until Thursday night.

The National Weather Service is forecasting critical fire weather conditions in the mountains as thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected to meet with the heat.

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