Saturday, August 04, 2012

Heat Waves, Not Hurricanes, May Be Most Dangerous Weather

Elderly, people who live alone should take special care

By Mark Huffman,

Much of the U.S. remains in the grip of a severe drought brought on by a series of heat waves. While much attention has been focused on the impact this is having on crops and livestock, a medical historian says these heat waves are extremely dangerous for people too.

A hurricane might claim 100 lives as it devastates a coastal area. A tornado may kill a dozen people as it wipes a small town off the map. But a heat wave, says Richard Keller, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical history and bioethics, can kill tens of thousands.

Keller is compiling a detailed account of the epic 2003 heat wave that broiled parts of Europe that summer and killed an estimated 70,000 people. Over a three-week period in August that year, a massive high-pressure system parked over Europe, producing the hottest summer weather in more than 500 years and leading to most of those fatalities.

Melted electrical cables

It was so hot electrical cables melted, nuclear reactors could not be cooled, water pumps failed and museum specimens liquefied, Keller says.

Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the worst hurricane in recent memory when it devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. The death toll was 1,836.

The European heat wave of 2003, meanwhile, took a deadly toll in France, when temperatures surpassed 100 degrees Fahrenheit on seven days.

“Measured by mortality, it was the worst natural disaster in contemporary France," said Keller.

Read the entire article here.

Additional 218 Counties Designated As Primary Natural Disaster Areas

More than half of all U.S. counties have been named disaster areas

By James Limbach,

There's no letup in the drought gripping much of the nation.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signed disaster designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

Counties designated today are in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming. More than half (50.3 percent) of all counties in the United States have been designated disaster areas by USDA in 2012, mainly due to drought.

"The assistance announced today will help U.S. livestock producers dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasturelands,” said Vilsack. “Responding to my request, crop insurance companies indicated that producers can forgo interest penalties to help our nation's farm families struggling with cash flow challenges."

Read the entire article here.

Kenmore Dehumidifiers Recalled

A fire hazard with the products has caused $7 million in damage

By James Limbach,

Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation, of Hoffman Estates, IL, are recalling nearly 800,000 Kenmore dehumidifiers.

The dehumidifiers, made BY LG Electronics, of Tianjin, China, can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers. There have been 107 reports of incidents, with more than $7 million in property damage and three reports of smoke inhalation injuries.

The recall involves 35-, 50- and 70-pint dehumidifiers with a Kenmore logo on the front top of the unit, manufactured between 2003 and 2005. The dehumidifiers are made of white plastic and are between 21 and 24 inches tall, about 15 inches wide and about 13.5 inches in depth. They have fan and humidity controls on their top front panels and some models include remote controls. They come with front-loading water buckets. The model number can be found on the right side of the interior of the unit once the bucket has been removed. Recalled units have the following model numbers:

  • 35-pint (2004) - 580.54351400 
  • 50-pint (2003) - 580.53509300 
  • 70-pint (2003) - 580.53701300 
  • 70-pint (2004) - 580.54701400 
  • 70-pint (2005) - 580.54701500  

Read the entire article here.

Jigzone Puzzle For Saturday, August 4

Click to Mix and Solve