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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published August 19 2013

Weather Talk: More deaths from flooding than from tornadoes, hurricanes

If asked what warm-season weather event causes the most fatalities, most people in the Midwest would probably answer tornadoes. If this same question is asked along the Gulf or East Coast, many would answer hurricanes. But neither answer is correct, as tornadoes and hurricanes rank third and fourth, respectively, in the average annual weather-related deaths in the United States.

As with all statistics, each year the rankings may change, but during most years, flooding typically causes more human fatalities than both tornadoes and hurricanes, with lightning often ranking second. Tragically, the flooding associated with the heavy rain last week in Colorado is blamed in the deaths of at least two people with similar events in other locations in recent weeks. Most flooding deaths in the United States are from individuals drowning in their cars. An important phrase we all need to remember when we come upon water on the road is to “turn around – don’t drown” as you never can be sure how deep the water may be.

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