The City of Phoenix has brought in refrigerated containers as emergency storage for the bodies as the city continues to battle soaring temperatures reaching over 110F.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office is preparing for the worst and with their already overcapacity morgues brought into the overflow facility.
If needed, coolers will allow them to have storage space should they exceed their peak capacity of 358 people.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Medical Examiner said A-Z family that they are already overcapacity, 224 bodies.
It comes as the southwest of the country continues to be hit hard by an intense heatwave that is pushing temperatures up to 118 degrees.
Large-scale chillers, pictured here, were introduced if the capacity of morgues reached breaking point
A person drinks a bottle of water while walking through ‘The Zone’, a sprawling homeless encampment where hundreds of people live in Phoenix
On Wednesday, Maricopa County said seven more deaths were confirmed to be heat-related, bringing their total to 25 so far this year.
Jason Berry, a spokesman for Maricopa County, said, “While we typically see an increase in admissions to the Office of the Medical Examiner (OME) in July, this year has been worse than previous years.
“Right now we’re between standard and peak capacity, so we thought it would be prudent to bring the refrigerated containers in as a precaution.”
The last time the county introduced cooling trailers like this was in the summer of 2020 when a wave of Covid swept through the city.
Other cities across the country, including New York, have also implemented measures due to overcrowded morgues and funeral homes.
Every day this month, the temperature in Arizona has exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Surgeons at the Arizona Burn Center-Valleywise Health also warned against burns from walking, sitting or falling on outdoor surfaces reaching up to 180 degrees.
Last year, the burn center saw 85 people admitted with heat-related surface burns during the months of June to August. Seven died.
A billboard displays a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, 48 degrees Celsius in Arizona on July 18, 2023
A man known only as John pours water on himself to cool off from the extreme heat in Phoenix, Arizona
As Phoenix continues to battle the heat, forecasters predict dangerous heat will engulf much of the eastern half of the United States.
The National Weather Service said extreme temperatures are expected to spread from the Midwest to the northeast, where residents will see record temperatures for the year.
Nearly 200 million people in the United States, or 60% of the population, are under a heat advisory, flood warning or watch.
Moisture moving southwest reduced the area for excessive heat warnings in the southernmost counties of California and parts of southern Arizona.
On Thursday, the heat and humidity in East Coast cities, including New York and Washington DC, created a feeling of over 100 degrees.
Forecasters expect several records to be broken today, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above average.
Due to the extreme heat, some of the country’s major power grids and utilities are under pressure, which could affect Americans’ ability to cool off.
This map released by the National Weather Service shows the number of heat warnings currently in place across the country
People cool off at a water park during a heat wave in Phoenix, Arizona on July 16, 2023
In New York City, utility Con Edison sent a text message asking residents to be frugal with air conditioning to save electricity.
The nation’s largest power grid, PJM Interconnection, declared a Level 1 energy emergency alert for its 13-state grid on Wednesday, meaning the company was concerned about its ability to provide enough electricity.
Spokesman Jeffrey Shields said, “PJM currently has enough generation to meet projected demand, but operators continue to monitor network conditions for any changes.”
The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which primarily covers Midwestern and Northern Plains states, issued a similar notice Thursday.
The California independent system operator also issued an energy emergency alert due to excess heat in Southern California.
A cold front should bring some relief on Sunday and next week, with heat in the northeast peaking today.