The following is a list of the most common ways people died due to weather related incidents over the 10-year period from April of 2003 to April of 2012. I’ve ranked the weather related causes based upon the average number of people in the United States who died annually as a result of each weather related incident over the time frame.
This list is a good reminder that people must pay attention to and respect Mother Nature. Sometimes there is nothing someone can do when bad weather is headed their way, but it’s always wise to try and prepare ahead of time and get out of harm’s way if possible.
Most Common Ways People Die Due to Weather Related Incidents in United States
1. Heat Fatalities – 117 per year on average
From 2003 to 2012, heat was the number one weather related cause of deaths in the United States, as an average of 117 people a year died due to heat over the 10 years.
Some may think that heat is a new and recent cause of weather related deaths, but that is not so. In 1995, 1,021 people died from heat in just that year. Some 502 more people died from heat in 1999.
The statistics I have for heat related deaths only go back to 1986, but there must have been many heat related deaths in the United States back in the 1930s. In the decade of the 1930s, 24 out of the 50 states in the United States set their all-time hottest temperature records.
T-2. Hurricane Fatalities – 109
An average of 109 people in the United States died per year from hurricane related incidents from 2003 to 2012. The numbers are greatly skewered by Hurricane Katrina, as 1,016 people died in 2005 alone.
Without Hurricane Katrina in 2005, only seven people died per year on average from hurricanes. However, the numbers also do not include Hurricane Sandy which occurred in late 2012, when 117 people in the United States lost their lives.
The hurricane fatality stats go back to 1940. In 1954 (193 killed), 1955 (218), 1957 (395), 1969 (256), and 1972 (121), in addition to 2005 (1,016) and 2012 (at least 117), over 100 people in each year lost their lives as a result of hurricanes.
T-2. Tornado Fatalities – 109
An average of 109 people a year lost their lives from 2003 to 2012 due to tornadoes. The worst year over the span was 2011, when 553 people perished from tornadoes. The worst year on record for tornado related deaths in the United States dating back to 1875 is 1925, when 794 people died from tornadoes.
4. Flood Fatalities – 76
Flooding can be extremely dangerous for people, especially when they try to drive through flooded streets and get washed away in their cars. An average of 76 people a year died as a result of flooding from 2003 to 2012.
5. Wind Fatalities – 51
I’m not exactly sure what a wind fatality is, but an average of 51 people a year from 2003 to 2012 died as a result of wind. The worst year was 2012, when 104 people died as a result of wind.
6. Rip Current Fatalities – 46
An average of 46 people a year from 2003 to 2012 died in the United States as a result of getting caught in a rip current and drowning. Rip currents can be extremely dangerous, especially for people who have no idea what they are.
7. Lightning Fatalities – 35
Lightning is the one weather statistic that has shown a remarkable and steady decline in terms of causing deaths annually. An average of 35 people a year died from lightning over the 10 year period of 2003 to 2012. From 1940 to around 1990, the annual average from lightning deaths was well over 100 per year.
8. Cold Fatalities – 27
An average of 27 people a year died from cold from 2003 to 2012, but the number would be much higher if the 2013-14 winter was included. The United States had a brutally cold winter this year that likely caused many cold weather fatalities.
9. Winter Fatalities – 25
The same is probably true for winter fatalities, which includes driving fatalities from snowy and icy roads. The United States had a snowy and icy winter in 2013-14 that likely also caused many fatalities.