Do the extreme heat and dryness resulting from flash droughts affect mortality in the Southeastern US?

Authors: Alisa L. Hass*, Middle Tennessee State University, Maggie Sugg, Appalachian State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Climatology and Meteorology, Health and Medical
Keywords: Drought, Public Health, Climate, Southeastern United States, Hazards and Vulnerability
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In recent years, the southeastern United States has experienced several notable flash droughts caused by persistent ridges of high pressure. Flash droughts affect crop and water supplies. The rapid onset of high temperatures, low humidity, limited rainfall, and wildfire conditions can also influence public health. To date, little research has explored the relationship between drought, drought severity, and public health. In this paper, we examine the link between mortality and drought for the southeastern US from 1999 to 2016. Drought data is provided at the county-level using the United States Drought Monitor (USDM), and county-level mortality data is provided by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) PLACES database. Mixed effect regressions examine the relationship between drought occurrence, drought severity, and mortality. Results will provide new knowledge on the impacts of drought to public health and provide recommendations for future work examining drought and health at the local level.

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