Two Dead in Wisconsin as Heat Wave Blankets Parts of Nation

·2 min read
A "Heat Kills" sign at Capitol Reef National Park outside of Torrey, Utah, US, on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Record high temperatures continue to sear the US Southwest through the Mississippi Valley, driving weekend energy demand as people turn to air conditioners to cool down.
A "Heat Kills" sign at Capitol Reef National Park outside of Torrey, Utah, US, on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Record high temperatures continue to sear the US Southwest through the Mississippi Valley, driving weekend energy demand as people turn to air conditioners to cool down.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty

Two deaths in Wisconsin this week are reportedly being investigated as heat-related as dangerously high temperatures plague most of the country

A 39-year-old Milwaukee woman was found dead on Tuesday in her home, and an 89-year-old Greenfield man died after collapsing in his backyard on Wednesday, NBC News reported.

Autopsies for both are still pending the medical examiner's office deemed the deaths "probable" heat wave-related, the outlet reported.

According to the National Weather Service, nearly 70 million people across the United States were under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings that spanned as far north as Wisconsin and Michigan all the way down to Florida. The NWS expects "dangerous heat and humidity" to continue across parts of the Midwest and Southeast through Thursday, with excessive heat warnings now applying to parts of southeastern California and Arizona as well.

RELATED: What to Know About Upcoming Heat Waves and How to Protect Yourself as Earth Gets Hotter

A boy plays with water at Crown Fountain in downtown Chicago, the United States, on June 14, 2022. The Chicago metropolitan area is bracing for a heat wave, as the U.S. National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the area on Monday.
A boy plays with water at Crown Fountain in downtown Chicago, the United States, on June 14, 2022. The Chicago metropolitan area is bracing for a heat wave, as the U.S. National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the area on Monday.

Vincent D. Johnson/Xinhua via Getty

The heat wave also brought severe weather within that area — Ohio utilities provider AEP said almost 250,000 customers throughout the state were without power on Tuesday at 8 p.m. due to lightning and winds that blew more than 75 miles per hour.

Columbus, Ohio mayor Andrew Ginther shared on Twitter Tuesday that he was among the city's residents without power.

As of Wednesday afternoon, AEP said they had reduced those numbers to 49,000 across the state and 87,000 in Columbus.

In July 2021, heat waves across the Pacific Northwest were associated with more than 60 deaths in Oregon. The heat waves also cooked millions of shellfish alive off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Christopher Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, told PEOPLE at the time that the effects of the heat waves "are a reminder of how the world is changing."

"Climate change is a big, scary issue that is hard to address," Harley said. "We can make small changes to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions too, and when we do, we'll realize that it wasn't as hard as we thought. Governments can and  should help make this easier for us, but they'll only do it if we tell them to."

According to the CDC, more than 700 people die from extreme heat around the country every year. The National Weather Service deems young children and infants, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and older people, in particular those on medication and/or with pre-existing conditions "particularly vulnerable" to extreme heat exposure.