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August 6, 2011

Heat wave continues as Oklahoma death toll hits 15

OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of heat-related deaths climbed to 15 so far this summer, and the brutal heat is suspected as a cause in 11 others, state officials said Friday.

A 65-year-old Hugo man and an 85-year-old Hartshorne man discovered this week are the latest confirmed casualties of the heat, said Cherokee Ballard, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office.

The heat also is suspected in the death of a 49-year-old homeless man discovered Wednesday in an Oklahoma City field and an 81-year-old woman found inside her Wewoka home that had no air conditioning, Ballard said.

The temperature reached 109 in Oklahoma City on Friday, shattering the old record by three degrees. A record high of 111 was reported in Tulsa, said Gary McManus with the Oklahoma Climatological survey. Friday was the 43rd day so far this year with temperatures above 100.

Triple-digit heat is expected to continue over the weekend, but Oklahoma could see temperatures decrease sometime next week if a high-pressure ridge shifts to the west, said Ty Judd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman.

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