Costliest Heat Waves 1901–2013
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally ten degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity. This kind of heat kills. After only extreme cold, heat waves are responsible for the most weather-related deaths in the United States-more than lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes. Often coupled with sustained periods of drought-and its accompanying devastating effects on crops-heat can also causes heavy economic losses. In the table below, find the most devastating heat waves in the U.S. from 1901–2013.
|Date||Location||Description||Human Cost||Economic Cost|
|July, 1901||Eastern United States||724 deaths in New York City alone||9,500||n.a.|
|1934||From N.Y. and Pa. across the Great Plains to the Calif. coast||49 days over 100°F; 27 days over 106°F||500+||n.a.|
|1936||Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lake States||peak of the "Dust Bowl"; 43 days over 100°F and 24 days over 106°F||5,000||n.a.|
|1954||11 states: from eastern Colorado through Kansas, Oklahoma, part of Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas, southern Illinois, and extending to western Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and parts of the Carolinas||heat wave; 117°F on July 14 in St. Louis||300||n.a.|
|Aug. 31–Sept. 7, 1955||Los Angeles||heat wave||946||n.a.|
|July 14–26, 1972||New York City||heat wave||891||n.a.|
|June 6–Nov. 30, 1980||Central and eastern U.S.||drought and heat wave||10,000||$20 billion|
|June 1–Aug. 31, 1986||Southeastern U.S.||drought and heat wave||100||1.3 billion|
|June, 1988||Central and eastern U.S.||drought and heat wave||7,500||40 billion|
|June 1–Aug. 31, 1993||Southeastern U.S.||drought and heat wave||16||1 billion|
|July, 1995||Midwest||"Chicago heat wave" in which 400 died in 9 days in the city||1,000||n.a.|
|June 1 –Aug.31, 1998||Texas/Oklahoma eastward to Carolinas||drought and heat wave||200||7.5 billion|
|June 1 –Aug.31, 1999||Eastern U.S.||dry summer with high temps||502||1 billion|
|March 1–Aug. 31, 2000||South-central and southeastern U.S.||severe drought and persistent heat||140||4 billion|
|July 16–25, 2006||California||two-week heat wave||140||n.a.|
|June 1–Nov. 30, 2007||Southeastern U.S. and Great Plains, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes area||severe drought and heat wave; August's heat particularly intense in southeast.||50||5 billion|
|2012||Calif., Nev., Idaho, Mont., Wyo., Utah, Colo., Ariz., N.M., Texas, N.D., S.D., Neb., Kans., Okla., Ark., Mo., Iowa, Minn., Ill., Ind., Ga.||June saw 3,282 daily high temps across the U.S.; drought conditions affected more than half the country for much of the year; heat wave caused hundreds of direct and indirect (heat stress) deaths||123||30 billion|
|March 1–Sept. 30, 2013||Texas, Okla., Kans., Neb., S.D., Colo., Utah, Wyo., Idaho, Nev., N.M., Ariz., Calif., Ore.||drought improved in midwest and plains states, but expanded into western states||53||n.a.|
Information Please® Database, © 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
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