Surviving the Storm: Weather Fatalities

Weather Headlines

Some may think a hurricane, lightning, or a tornado leads to the most fatalities. But the answer is heat.

According to the National Weather Service, from 1990-2019, an average of 138 people lost their lives as a result of heat. Flooding was second with an average of 88 lives lost.

From 1950 to the end of 2020, the National Centers for Environmental Information recorded two events in Central PA with direct weather-related deaths. The first was a flash flood January 19th 1996.

A 62 year old Bedford County woman died after crossing a flooded road and the truck was swept away. A 17 year old Blair County male also died after being trapped by rising water walking home. The second event was a snow squall January 6th 2004. 6 people died when whiteout conditions along I-80 caused a multi-vehicle crash.

While the number of weather events has increased 17%, from 2015-2019, the number of deaths decreased 19%. That’s because watches and warnings give people more time to prepare or evacuate and the area is more specific than in the past.

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