Severe Weather

Deaths and physical injuries from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and wildfire occur annually across the United States. Direct morbidity and mortality increase with the intensity and duration of such events. As a general trend, climate change will lead to an increase in the intensity of rainfall and the frequency of heat waves, flooding, and wildfire. Uncertainties remain in projections of future storm patterns, including hurricanes. The number of deaths and injuries that result from all of these extreme events can be decreased through advanced warning and preparation. Changes in severe weather events may also lead to increases in diarrheal disease and increased incidence of respiratory symptoms, particularly in developing countries. Mental health impacts are often overlooked in the discussion of climate change and public health. Severe weather often results in increased anxiety, depression, and even posttraumatic stress disorder.

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