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2 more heat deaths confirmed in St. Louis area, 2 others suspected

2 more heat deaths confirmed in St. Louis area, 2 others suspected


UPDATED at 1:50 p.m. with two additional confirmed deaths.

Two more deaths caused by the heat wave were confirmed today in the metro area, and St. Louis County is investigating two others that apparently were related to heat.

If those two cases under review also are classified as caused by heat stroke, that would bring to 13 the number of deaths attributed this year to the on-and-off heat spells. Daytime highs have reached or exceeded 100 degrees on seven days this month, and the National Weather Service forecasts a high for today of 102 degrees.

The two confirmed cases announced today are of:

• David E. Richardson, 74, of the 1600 block of Sixth Street in Madison. Madison County Coroner Stephen P. Nonn said Madison city police went to that address Wednesday after a letter carrier noticed that Richardson's mail had been piling up. Officers found his body in a residence with no air-conditioning and closed windows, and with an interior temperature of 96.5 degrees.

  Nonn said Richardson had last been seen on July 21.

• A woman, 75, of the 3300 block of Liberty Street, near Mt. Pleasant Park in St. Louis. Health officials said the victim's air-conditioner was blowing hot air. She was pronounced dead on Sunday, and her cause of death was confirmed today. Officials said the woman's relatives checked on her regularly.   

The two probable cases are of men who were found in their sweltering homes Sunday in north St. Louis County. Officials with the St. Louis County Health Department said today they suspect the two men's deaths are related to the heat. However, Dr. Mary Case, the county medical examiner, will make the final decision, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Those cases are:

• A 55-year-old man who was found dead Sunday in his home on Minnie Avenue in Jennings, according to the county medical examiner's office. The man lived alone in a house with no air conditioning. All of the windows were closed when he was found, said John Shelton, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Health Department.

• A 46-year-old man who was found dead Sunday in his home on Colonial Avenue in Velda City. He had a room air conditioning unit that did not work. At the foot of the man's bed was a fan that wasn't working, Shelton said. All of the windows were closed.

Both men had underlying medical conditions, but officials don't think that contributed to the deaths. The Health Department declined to release the names of the men.

St. Louis County already had one heat death this summer.

Lula Curry, 69, was found dead Friday afternoon in her home in the 7000 block of West Florissant Avenue in Country Club Hills. The home had no air conditioning and the windows were shut, officials said.

The temperature inside her home was 116 degrees. The high temperature outside Friday was 101 degrees.

So far this summer, heatstroke has claimed five lives in the city of St. Louis and five in the Metro East.

On Sunday, the day the men were found dead, the high temperature outside was 93 by mid-morning. The previous day, Saturday, the high temperature was 100, and the low only dropped to 83.

High temperatures have been at or higher than 100 seven days this month, including four days from July 20 to Saturday, says Jayson Gosselin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Today's high will be around 102, forecasters say. Friday's high could reach 95, and there is a chance of thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for temperatures to  be moderate again this weekend. Forecasters say it might be 92 to 93 degrees on Saturday with a continued chance of thunderstorms.

Another heat up will followed the weekend. That has been the summer pattern as a high-pressure system meanders over the Midwest and Plains.

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