With the extreme heat we've endured this week, we keep seeing stories about how it's the number one weather-related killer in the United States. While that is certainly true, it's not necessarily the case here in Michigan.

We've been under an Excessive Heat Warning most of the week, and it isn't officially summer until tomorrow (6/20). If we're already seeing temperatures in the mid-90s in June, just wait until July and August, when things typically really heat up.

In the overall big picture, heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States, killing more people than any other extreme weather event.

What is the #1 Weather-Related Killer in Michigan?

According to The Weather Channel, extreme cold is Michigan's number one weather-related killer. Cold is often cited as the #1 weather-related killer in Michigan due to the state's sometimes brutal winter conditions.

Thirty-five people in Michigan died due to exposure to the cold in 2015, which is why it's often cited as the number one weather-related killer in the state.

It's not just the cold temperatures that make it so deadly, but other key factors as well:

  • Hypothermia and Frostbite: Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to hypothermia and frostbite, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.
  • Traffic Accidents: Snow and ice on roads contribute to a significant number of traffic accidents, which can be fatal.
  • Power Outages: Severe winter weather can cause power outages, leaving people without heat.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: To stay warm during power outages, people might use alternative heating sources like gas generators, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Ice-Related Incidents: Falling through ice on lakes and rivers is a risk in Michigan.

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