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Up to 70 people dead after Quebec heat wave

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An estimated 70 people died as the result of sweltering temperatures that hit Canada's Quebec province last week, according to health officials. An estimated 70 people died as the result of sweltering temperatures that hit Canada's Quebec province last week, according to health officials.
By Susannah Cullinane

(CNN) -- An estimated 70 people died as the result of sweltering temperatures that hit Canada's Quebec province last week, according to health officials.

The Ministry of Health said that 34 of the deaths occurred in the city of Montreal.

Temperatures have since dropped with Environment Canada forecasting a high of 81 degrees (27 C) and low of 55 (13 C) for Tuesday.

Quebec's Public Health Department said Monday "the situation is back to normal" and that it would stop giving updates on heat-related deaths, CNN news partner CBC reported.

CBC said Montreal's morgue had become overcrowded and that it had been sending bodies to a funeral home for storage during the heatwave.

Montreal's public health office said most of those who died during the extreme temperatures were aged over 60 and suffering from chronic illnesses, the broadcaster reported.

High temperatures and humidity began hitting Quebec last Sunday with temperatures in the mid-90s for Montreal -- about 20 degrees higher than normal for this time of year.

By Friday, 54 heat-related deaths -- 28 of them in Montreal -- had been reported by health officials.

Many of the victims were older than 50, male, living alone and had no air conditioning, said Dr. David Kaiser of Montreal's Regional Public Health Department.

Scorching heat also hit California and parts of the Southwest late last week, with record-setting temperaures recorded in Los Angeles.

High demand for electricity overloaded circuits and power was cut to thousands. Nearly 2,000 people were still experiencing outages in the city Monday afternoon.

CNN's Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

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