“Indirect” Injuries and Deaths due to Winter Precipitation in the United States

Authors: Alan Black*, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Peyton Dermody, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: Precipitation, winter, hazards, weather, losses
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Weather events of all types can result in injuries or deaths, and winter precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) is no exception. The National Weather Service (NWS) compiles statistics on weather related injuries and deaths, but only on those deemed “direct” – where the weather was a direct agent in the injury or death. However, they do not include “indirect” deaths – where the weather led to a situation that results in an injury or death. Because of this, several causes of injury or death that result from winter precipitation are excluded from the official statistics, including winter precipitation related vehicle crashes, slip and falls, and carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe heating after a storm, among others. While these indirect injuries and fatalities are excluded from the official statistics, information about them is often included in the NWS StormData publication that catalogs severe and unusual weather. This work examines the indirect injuries and deaths due to winter precipitation from StormData and compares these with losses from other weather events. This work will provide a more complete picture the magnitude of indirect losses due to winter weather and facilitate comparisons with deaths and injuries from other types of weather events.

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