What do you think is the number one weather hazard annually in the United States? Tornadoes? Flash floods? Lightning? Hurricanes? You might be surprised.
Following are the ten year averages (1999-2008) from the National Weather Service
1. Heat 162
2. Flooding 65
3. Tornadoes 63
4. Damaging winds 43
5. Lightning 42
6. Winter Storms 33
7. Cold 21
8. Hurricanes 17 (removing the 1016 fatalities in 2005)
What is I told you that there was an underrated weather killed that killed almost as many people in 2008-09 that all of the other hazards combined? In 2008, there were 477 fatalities in the United States from accidents on icy roads. All of the other hazards totaled 479 deaths. As we well know, icy roads are not limited to just mountainous areas. It only takes a small amount of snow, sleet or freezing rain to turn roads and bridges into skating rinks, even in the sunny south.
Dan Robinson is a storm chaser and photojournalist from West Virginia. In his work, he has seen all kinds of severe weather including tornadoes, damaging winds and flooding. But he believes the most dangerous weather phenomenon to people is the simple snowflake or freezing raindrop. Dan has created http://icyroadsafety.com/ to further the cause of spreading awareness about the threat. There is some great information on his site.
He will appear on WeatherBrains in January.
Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter.com. I am @wxhistorian.