Heat and Cold


How dangerous are heat waves to people?

Heat waves are responsible for some of the most lethal weather-disasters in history. In fact, in the United States the heat wave of 1980 caused more deaths (between 10,000 and 15,000, depending on sources) than the 1900 hurricane that killed between 8,000 and 12,000 people in Galveston, Texas. More recently, in 2003 a heat wave in Europe struck, killing somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 people. The heat had a particularly lethal effect on the people of France, where over 14,800 people died of heat-related problems, mostly heat stroke. In France, fewer people have air conditioning in their homes, and many elderly living in apartments succumbed to the suffocating temperatures.


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