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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
July 24/31, 2013

Advanced Planning Can Help Prevent Heat-Related Deaths

JAMA. 2013;310(4):362. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8497

Thirty-two deaths in 4 states have been linked with a heat wave last summer that followed a line of damaging thunderstorms in the Midwest and eastern United States. The number represents at least a 4-fold increase in summertime heat-related deaths in those states, illustrating the danger of excessive temperatures.

In Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia, where the deaths occurred, temperatures between 83°F and 104°F averaged 9.5°F warmer than usual between June 30 and July 13, 2012. The extreme heat came on the heels of powerful thunderstorms with wind gusts reaching 80 mph in parts of the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic regions. Downed utility lines left an estimated 3.8 million people without power, some for as long as 8 days.