Cliff Mass: Why the Northwest is nearly heat wave proof
As we complain about our cool summer, we should not forget that the central and eastern portions of the U.S. has been experiencing major drought and heat waves (as noted in my previous blog there is an intimate condition between our coolness and their heat). It turns out that when one does a careful accounting of the meteorological causes of death, heat waves far exceed tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, and floods in causing deaths and injury. Only one other meteorological parameter is in the same league: roadway icing–which injuries and kills thousands of people per year around the U.S. Consider a few examples of heat wave losses: the U.S. heat wave in 1980 killed more than 1250, while the famous Chicago heat wave killed 700. And of course the 2003 European heat wave brought an extraordinary toll of roughly 50,000.
Of course, the key reason we don’t have many heat waves is the Pacific Ocean… (more)
ALSO BY CLIFF MASS