, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 44-50

A comparative analysis of heat waves and associated mortality in St. Louis, Missouri – 1980 and 1995

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Abstract

 This research investigates heat-related mortality during the 1980 and 1995 heat waves in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis has a long history of extreme summer weather, and heat-related mortality is a public health concern. Heat waves are defined as days with apparent temperatures exceeding 40.6°C (105°F). The study uses a multivariate analysis to investigate the relationship between mortality and heat wave intensity, duration, and timing within the summer season. The heat wave of 1980 was more severe and had higher associated mortality than that of 1995. To learn if changing population characteristics, in addition to weather conditions, contributed to this difference, changes in population vulnerability between 1980 and 1995 are evaluated under simulated heat wave conditions. The findings show that St. Louis remains at risk of heat wave mortality. In addition, there is evidence that vulnerability has increased despite increased air-conditioning penetration and public health interventions.

Received: 12 August 1997 / Revised: 12 January 1998 / Accepted: 13 February 1998