Extreme Temperatures: The Quiet Natural Disasters

Extreme Temperatures: Not Dramatic, but Not Unimportant

Extreme Temperatures HeatExtreme temperatures rarely result in big, national headlines. It isn’t as dramatic as the destructive earthquake. The toll taken on our country by temperature extremes isn’t often a matter of a single, crushing, attention-grabbing moment.

Extreme temperatures nonetheless present a pretty compelling level of danger when viewed in comparison to other disasters as shown through statistics.

The nation averaged an annual 569 heat-related deaths in the period from 1999 through 2005, according to the CDC.

It goes to show that disaster doesn’t always have to mean the big, attention-grabbing weather events such as tornadoes, earthquakes or regional flooding.

Extreme Temperatures: A “Compelling Level of Danger”

The extreme hot or cold weather events that strike many communities a few times every year might very well qualify as disasters on individual scales depending on the abilities of people to regulate their body temperatures.

Learn about extreme temperatures

Read more from the author in Prepper’s Guide to Surviving Natural Disasters.

Extreme temperatures nonetheless present a pretty compelling level of danger when viewed in comparison to other disasters as shown through statistics.

Figures on deaths directly attributed to individual, severe weather events show heat waves have been more deadly in the United States than tornadoes in recent decades.

From 1988 through 2011, stretches of excessive heat and humidity took an average of 146 lives per year.

Tornadoes, meanwhile, took an average of 76 lives during each of those years, according to National Weather Service statistics.

Heat waves took nearly triple the toll on human lives than hurricanes did when viewed from that broader 24-year average. It might be a mind-boggling statistic at the surface.

Memories, after all, tend to focus on events such as Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy. We lean on thoughts of all the devastation that reaches our homes through images on our computer and television screens.

Hurricanes, though, when viewed over that wide-view, 24-year scale brought an average of only 56 annual deaths, the NWS reports.

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