Hazardous winter weather impacts
On average, 44
people in the United States lose their lives each year due to
winter storms. This ranks No. 4 on the list of storm-related
fatalities, behind flooding, at 84; tornadoes, 57; and
weather has annually resulted in 24 fatalities, on average, in
the United States.
About 70 percent
of the people who are killed or injured due to winter storms are
in automobiles. About 25 percent of the people who are killed or
injured in winter storms are caught out in the storm with no
place to take shelter.
Many deaths and
injuries are indirectly related to winter weather occurrences
that are not classified as winter storms. These include:
Traffic accidents on hazardous roads
Heart attacks from shoveling snow or other outdoor activities
Hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold
Illinois winter weather facts
Since 1998, 88
percent of all winter weather storms -- those with heavy snow
and significant icing -- in central and southeast Illinois have
had advance warning by the National Weather Service in Lincoln,
with an average lead time of 16.3 hours.
There has not been
a winter in Illinois without a severe winter storm in the past
experiences five severe winter storms each year, on average.
Interesting winter weather facts
In the Midwestern
United States, Marquette, Mich., is the snowiest city, with an
average annual snow accumulation of nearly 130 inches! In
central Illinois, the town of Minonk, in northeast Woodford
County, has the highest average annual snowfall, with 27.1
snowstorm to affect central Illinois occurred Dec. 18-20, 1973,
when 14 to 22 inches of snow was measured along and just south
of Interstate 72. The highest total was in Paris, in Edgar
County, which had 21.5 inches of snow.
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In the Midwest, it
usually takes about 13 inches of snow to yield 1 inch of water.
This ratio can change from storm to storm. "Dry" snow that is
accompanied by very cold temperatures may take as much as 25
inches of snow to yield an inch of water, while "wet" snow from
weather systems that originate near the Gulf of Mexico can
produce 4 inches of snow for every inch of water.
temperature to be recorded in the state occurred in the central
Illinois town of Congerville, in Woodford County, when the
mercury dipped to 36 below zero on Jan. 5, 1999.
temperature ever recorded in the continental U.S. was 70 below
in Rogers Pass, Mont. Alaska's coldest reading was 80 below at
Prospect Creek. The world-record coldest temperature was 129
below at the South Pole.
Economic impacts of weather forecasts and warnings
33 percent of the
U.S. gross national product is affected by National Weather
estimated that improved El Nino forecasts have resulted in
annual savings of nearly $300 million for U.S. agriculture by
altering planting decisions.
improvement in temperature forecasts could decrease the annual
cost of electricity by at least $1 billion.
For the latest weather and river forecasts, warnings, current
conditions, radar and satellite imagery, and climate information,
The National Weather Service mission
The National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and
climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its
territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of
life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. The
National Weather Service is the sole United States official
voice for issuing warnings during life-threatening weather
Weather Service news release provided by Chris Miller)