Officials are blaming a heat wave in California for the deaths of some 130 residents.

Sweltering temperatures and high humidity gripped the state for 12 days before temperatures dipped slightly Friday. 

Weather forecasters Saturday say the break in the searing temperatures will continue for the next few days.

In the hardest-hit Central Valley, temperatures are expected to reach 38 degrees celsius, down from highs in the mid 40s.

Officials say most people who died from heat-related causes were elderly.  Aid workers are going door-to-door to check on older residents. 

The heat wave is also harming the state's agriculture industry.  Cattle are dying, reducing milk supplies.  State officials have waived regulations on the disposal of dead animals to help farmers deal with the high number of carcasses. 

Agriculture experts say peach, plum, nectarine and walnut crops have been destroyed this year.

California farm losses could drive up national food prices in coming months.

The heat generated an increased demand on the state's electrical grid, causing power outages at a time when air conditioning is most important.  More than one million people have been left without power at some point during the heat wave.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.