Severe Weather

Deaths and physical injuries from severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, and wildfire occur annually across the United States. Direct morbidity and mortality increase with the intensity and duration of such an event and can decrease with advance warning and preparation (CCSP, 2008a). While uncertainties remain, the general trend is that climate change will lead to an increase in the intensity of several types of severe weather events, such as flooding (see Chapter 8). Severe weather events may also lead to increases in diarrheal disease and increased incidence of respiratory symptoms, particularly in developing countries (CCSP, 2008a; Haines and Patz, 2004). Extreme events can also affect health indirectly. The mental health impacts (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression) of extreme events could be especially important, but they are difficult to assess (CCSP, 2008a; Haines and Patz, 2004).

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