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Fear Tornadoes and Lightning? Cold and Heat Are Far Deadlier

A new federal report finds 2,000 weather-related deaths each year, nearly two-thirds of them from cold and most of the rest from heat.

Floods, storms and lightning might grab more headlines, but natural cold and heat kill far more Americans each year, according to a new report on weather-related deaths in the U.S. And twice as many people die of overexposure to cold as they do from too much heat, says the report from National Health Statistics. It found that there are about 2,000 deaths each year from weather-related causes: about 31 percent from excessive natural heat, heat stroke, sun stroke or a combo, and 63 percent caused by excessive natural cold, hypothermia or both.

The study looked at 10,649 deaths from 2006 through 2010 and found that just 6 percent were from floods, storms and lightning. Overall, older people, males and black people had higher weather-related mortality rates, the study said. And the death rate in low-income counties was two to seven times higher than in high-income counties. The report warned that the number of weather-related deaths was likely underreported. Read the report for yourself here.


— Gil Aegerter