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August 13, 1997

Heat-Related Deaths—Dallas, Wichita, and Cooke Counties, Texas, and United States, 1996

JAMA. 1997;278(6):462-463. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550060030015

DURING July 2-8, 1996, high maximum daily temperatures in Dallas County, Texas, ranged from 101F (38.3 C) to 106 F (41.1 C), and high maximum daily heat indexes (a measure of the effect of combined elements [e.g., heat and humidity] on the body) ranged from 105 F (40.6 C) to 112 F (44.4 C). Although guidelines for issuing heat advisories or warnings vary by geographic location and climate, the National Weather Service generally suggests issuing a heat advisory when a daytime heat index reaches ≥105 F (≥40.6C), and anight time minimum ambient temperature of 80 F (26.7 C) persists for at least 48 hours. In Dallas County, the criterion used by the medical examiner's (ME's) office to designate a heat wave is ≥3 consecutive days of temperatures ≥100 F (37.8 C). This report describes four cases of heat-related death in Dallas, Wichita, and Cooke counties, Texas