MACCLENNY, Fla. – A 10-month-old girl left in a car in a community outside of Jacksonville, Florida, is the latest death associated with an extended heat wave across the South, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Deputies investigating the case believe the child was "inadvertently left" inside the vehicle for an extended period.
Investigators have not released details on how long they believe the child was in the car or who noticed that she was missing.
A weather observation site near the town of Macclenny reported a low temperature of 73 °F degrees and an afternoon high of 99 °F degrees.
During the afternoon, the heat index was estimated to be around 113 °F degrees, making the weather potentially deadly for any age group who had prolonged exposure to the summer heat.
Around 100 million residents from coast to coast were under a heat alert on Wednesday due to the potentially dangerous temperatures.
The National Weather Service in Phoenix reported a new all-time record daily average temperature of 108 °F degrees, and meteorologists in Las Vegas warned some pavement temperatures could have reached 158 °F.
According to advocate organization Kids and Car Safety, the latest death marks the 14th time in 2023 that a child has passed away after being left in a hot vehicle.
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Experts say after 60 minutes, a vehicle’s indoor temperature can rise more than 40 °F if there is no circulation.
The nonprofit group says 38 children die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, and Florida ranks among the highest states with incidents.
According to noheatstroke.org, most incidents are caused by a caregiver forgetting a child inside, and only a few are cases are the result of an intentional act.
The FOX Forecast Center warns weather patterns that have resulted in excessive heat will continue through the foreseeable future.
Computer forecast models show areas of high pressure will likely set up shop over large parts of the Southwest and the Gulf Coast for the remainder of the month, leading to air temperatures in the 90s and 100s and feels-like temperatures in excess of 105 °F.