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TODAY’s TMJ4 WEATHER PLUS Heat No. 1 Weather-Related Killer

August 1, 2008

By CRAIG KOPLIEN

Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States.

Heat waves have been responsible for an average of at least 237 deaths a year since 1997. In Wisconsin since 1982, heat waves have been responsible for more deaths than all other natural disasters combined. From 1982 through 2006, the direct cause of at least 115 deaths was heat. Plus, heat was considered an indirect cause of at least 95 other deaths.

The summer of 1995 heat waves hold the record as the No. 1 weather-related killer in Wisconsin history.

The heat index is the number we watch when considering the danger heat may present. The index is an estimate of how hot it feels when high relative humidity is considered in combination with the temperature. The National Weather Service will issue one of three heat-related bulletins when the heat index is expected to rise to dangerous levels.

A heat advisory is issued when the heat index is expected to be 105 to 110 degrees for three hours or more. An excessive-heat watch is issued when the index is expected to exceed 110 degrees for three hours or more. An excessive-heat warning is issued when the index is expected to equal or exceed 115 degrees for three hours or more.

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