Navigation Links
Nature's Fury Makes South Most Dangerous Area in U.S.

But new 'death map' shows that no region is truly safe from extreme heat, weather

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Americans worried about being caught up in a killer heat wave or deadly natural disaster might do well to avoid the South and the Great Plains states, according to a new U.S. "death map."

The map, devised by University of South Carolina researchers, finds that most deaths from environmental hazards are not the result of dramatic events such as hurricanes or earthquakes

"It's the everyday hazards, such as severe weather -- both in the winter and the summer -- and heat that account for the majority of natural hazard fatalities; it's not the big wham-o event like an earthquake or a Katrina that contribute to the long-term pattern," said lead researcher Susan Cutter, director of the university's Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute.

In that sense, "no place is safe," she noted. "There is no place with few fatalities. Every place has threats -- it's just that the threats are different," Cutter said.

Still, some areas may be a tad more hazardous than others. "For example, you are more likely in some areas in the Great Plains and the mountain states to die from a natural hazard than you would be in the Northeast," Cutter said.

In the southeast, severe weather such as hurricanes remains the main cause of deaths caused by natural hazards. The U.S. west coast also experiences severe weather, and it is also more prone to earthquakes that result in deaths, Cutter added.

The report was published in the Dec. 16 edition of the online journal International Journal of Health Geographics.

For the study, Cutter and her colleague Kevin Borden matched death and weather data from the 1970s straight through to 2004 to create the map.

According to the data, just under 20,000 Americans died from natural hazards during the more than three decades studied.

The team found that deaths from natural hazards were most likely to occur in the South. Here, people typically fall victim to severe weather and tornadoes. In addition, residents of the Great Plains are sometimes done in by extreme summer heat. In the mountain states, cold and flooding account for most of the natural-hazard deaths, and floods and tornadoes top the list as the greatest threats in the south-central U.S.

Cutter and Borden found that, overall, extreme heat remains the leading cause of deaths due to natural hazards in the United States, amounting to nearly 20 percent of total mortality. Ranked by seasons, severe summer weather accounted for 18.8 of deaths, while winter cold accounted for 18.1 percent of deaths, the report found.

More dramatic events -- such as earthquakes, wildfires and hurricanes -- may grab headlines, but lumped together, they accounted for only 5 percent of hazard-related deaths, Cutter noted.

In fact, deaths from hurricanes and earthquakes continue to go down, the researcher said. However, Cutter noted that "there are still quite a number of fatalities from storm surges -- people just don't understand the role of water and surging tide."

The United States actually fares much better from natural hazards than other areas of the world, where events such as earthquakes, floods and tidal waves can prove catastrophic. Cutter believes this disparity is the result of the U.S. being better prepared for these calamities. In addition to overall preparedness, building codes in the U.S. take into account threats from earthquakes and wind, she noted.

But there's always room for improvement, said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

"Some environments are more hazard-prone than others, as the constellations of dark red patches in the South and Midwest suggest," Katz said. "It may be that those who can afford to live in less hazard-prone environments do so," he said.

The map's useful display of the distribution of hazards is an invitation to action, Katz said. "We have the opportunity to learn the lessons of hazards past, and avoid the folly of waiting passively for them to recur," he said.

More information

Here's a look at the color-coded U.S. Death Map.

SOURCES: Susan Cutter, Ph.D., director, Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Dec. 16, 2008, International Journal of Health Geographics

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Pharmaceutical and Health Care Experts to Detail Cost-Cutting Capabilities of Secure Digital Signatures
2. ProGenTech Targets Clinical Diagnostics and Applied Sciences Markets with Human Genetic Signatures Deal
3. Statement Regarding the Filing of Signatures to Put the Human Embryo Stem Cell Issue on the November Statewide Ballot
4. As I-1000 Signatures are Counted, Washington State Medical Association Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide Reiterated
5. After Collecting 22 Million Petition Signatures on, Bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act Gets First Congressional Hearing in 12 Years
6. Emmy(R)- and Golden Globe(R)-Nominated Actress Marcia Cross and Lifetime Television Deliver 20 Million Online Petition Signatures to Capitol Hill to Urge Congress to Stop Drive-Through Mastectomies
7. If Your Child Says School Makes Him Sick - He Might Be Right
8. Cleveland Clinic Boosts Transparency, Makes Physician Disclosures Available Online
9. Revolutionary New Learning Website Makes Continuing Education a Pleasure
10. Acai Berry Makes #1 Super Food on Oprah's List
11. US$18.5 million grant makes male circumcision a top-tier HIV prevention strategy
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Nature's Fury Makes South Most Dangerous Area in U.S.
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... The OSHA Training ... Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important reminder to ... their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with ... X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color ... users can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, ... its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites ... Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, ... ... in the patient payment industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, ... system workflows. , The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of ... of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... One of Australia,s successful biotechnology scientists, Dr ... biotechnology company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 123] ("Noxopharm"). Noxopharm ... on the ASX. Noxopharm is a clinic-ready company with ... 1 clinical study later this year. ... problems facing cancer patients - the ability of cancers to become ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... 2016 Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: ... Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), ... Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, ... agreement under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab ... Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to build ... Company,s stock which is currently listed on the OTC ... Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an ... difficult to understand, not only by the Company, but ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: