Weather kills 2,000 a year; cold is top culprit

NEW YORK — The weather kills at least 2,000 Americans each year and nearly two-thirds of the deaths are from the cold, according to a new government report.

That may surprise some people, the researchers acknowledged. Hurricanes, tornadoes and heat waves “get more publicity, for some reason, than cold-related deaths,” said Deborah Ingram, one of the report’s authors.

The report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed U.S. deaths attributed to the cold, the heat, storms, floods and lightning. It used national death certificate information for five years. The report found:

— Of the 10,649 deaths attributed to the weather, about 63 percent were tied to exposure to the cold or hypothermia. Those who more often fall victim to the cold include the homeless, alcoholics, those who take part in wilderness activities and winter sports, and fragile people already fighting illnesses who live in under-heated homes.

— About 31 percent of the deaths were caused by heat, heat stroke or sun stroke. The remaining 6 percent were blamed on storms, floods or lightning.

— More than two-thirds of weather-related deaths were men and boys, and men were twice as likely as women to die from storms, floods or lightning strikes. And people 65 and older had much higher death rates than younger people, perhaps because it’s harder for them to endure temperature extremes, the researchers said.

— The highest heat-related death rates were in cities and very rural areas; the most isolated areas also had the highest rates related to the cold and to storms, floods and lightning. Low-income counties had higher weather-related death rates than high-income counties. That could be due to people in poor rural or urban places lacking heating, air conditioning or help during blizzards or heat waves, the researchers said.

— For blacks, the heat-related death rate was about 2.5 times higher than the rate for whites, and about twice as high as the Hispanic rate. Blacks also died at a higher rate from the cold. That finding may be tied to higher concentrations of low-income blacks in large cities or very rural areas. Also, blacks might be more vulnerable to weather extremes because they have more heart disease and other chronic health problems. Whites, however, died at twice the rate of blacks from floods, storms and lightning strikes.

———

Online:

CDC report: www.cdc.gov/nchs

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Mayor Ray Stephanson’s official portrait, by local illustrator Elizabeth Person, is displayed at a farewell reception held in the Ed Hansen Conference Center at Xfinity on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Past and future on the drawing board

Everett artist puts paint to paper for outgoing Mayor Ray Stephanson’s official portrait.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

“Women Make Us Better,” a video on the Boeing Co. website features 15 female engineers. (All images Courtesy The Boeing Company)
For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, today’s female Boeing engineers break the silence about an embarrassing past.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Most Read