Societal Aspects of Weather

Summer/Winter Summer/Winter

North American summers are hot; heat waves occur in one section or another of the United States during most summers. Those east of the Rockies tend to combine both high temperatures and high humidity although some of the worst have been catastrophically dry.

"A major winter storm can be lethal. Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms." From FEMA Fact Sheets

Section 1. Summer (including drought)

Section 2. Winter

Section 1. Summer (including drought)

Climate of 1998, Summer Weather Extremes
This NCDC Web site includes information on summer weather impacts, links, and products.

Drought Monitor
A partnership of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has responded to the need for accurate, centralized drought information by developing a map that summarizes information from numerous drought indices and indicators in a single, easy-to-read resource. This site also includes a drought forecast, archives, and summary of current conditions.

Heat-related mortality in warm and cold regions of Europe: Observational study
This paper by a group of European researchers offers some interesting findings: annual *cold*-related mortality is higher than heat-related mortality across Europe, and, overall, Europeans can be expected to adjust to global warming predicted for the next half century. The authors point out, however, that their findings in no way negate the need to take preemptive measures against heat stress.

Heat Wave: A Major Summer Killer
A NOAA, NWS, FEMA, and American Red Cross Web site with information about heat waves.

Heat Waves and Hot Nights
This report by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Ozone Action shows that extreme heat waves and overheated nights are becoming more frequent in cities and regions across the United States. Indeed, the number of heat waves, high heat index days, and extremely warm nights in the U.S. has doubled since the 1950s, and each summer two to three thousand people now die from this hazard.

National Drought Mitigation Center Homepage
The National Drought Mitigation Center helps people and institutions develop and implement measures to reduce societal vulnerability to drought. The NDMC, based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, stresses preparation and risk management rather than crisis management.

National Drought Mitigation Center Drought Watch
This Web page includes links to sites monitoring current droughts in the U.S., forecasts, information on global climate and drought monitoring, information about current drought-related impacts and humanitarian issues, as well as drought news. The site is a clearinghouse for the many sources of drought information now available on the Web.

NOAA's Drought Information Center
NOAA's Drought Information Center provides breaking news including current drought assessments of various kinds; monthly roundups; and background information on drought.

Preparing for Drought in the New Millennium
This draft report of the National Drought Policy Commission is the result of thousands of hours of effort by many persons and groups who have a commitment to improving drought policy in our nation.

Saving lives during extreme weather in summer
This editorial from the British Medical Journal calls on health professionals worldwide to work with local health agencies and emergency management offices to develop reliable systems to warn of and deal with temperature extremes and their effects on humans.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Office to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNSO)
This site provides links to weekly articles related to drought and desertification.

USGS Drought Watch
The USGS developed this Web site to monitor water levels and rain prospects. This site includes nationwide information about water levels and rainfall trends.

The Western Drought Experience
On July 16, 1998, President Clinton signed the National Drought Policy Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-199), creating the National Drought Policy Commission to advise Congress "on the creation of an integrated, coordinated Federal policy designed to prepare for and respond to serious drought emergencies." The Western Governors' Association's Western Drought Coordination Council (WDCC) prepared a report entitled "The Western Drought Experience: The Western Drought Coordination Council's Report to the National Drought Policy Commission" - to assist the national effort.

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Section 2. Winter

The Blizzard of '96
From the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Cyberspace Avalanche Center
Contains current snow conditions, avalanche education and research (including bibliographies and other publications), archived avalanche bulletins, summaries of avalanche incidents, professional resources (including lists of research centers, weather resources, conferences, and additional avalanche Web sites), and other snow and avalanche information such as statistics and personal accounts of disasters.

FEMA Fact Sheets:
Winter Preparedness Safety Tips

Ice Storm 1998
While freezing rain is not an uncommon Canadian experience, the ice storm that hit eastern Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick was exceptional. Environment Canada senior climatologist and resident climate expert, David Phillips, provides us with his analysis of how Ice Storm '98 stacks up in the record books.

Winter Weather Awareness
This NWS Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services site provides information about actions you can take to protect yourself, family, pets, and property from winter hazards such as snow, ice, strong winds, and wind chill. Information about how to respond to winter weather is also included.

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