Western European Heatwave (02:59)
During summer 2003, day time temperatures remained over 104 degrees Fahrenheit in France; that August was the hottest on record in the northern hemisphere. Heat related sicknesses and deaths overwhelmed hospitals and mortuaries. An estimated 30,000 people died, half were French.
Illinois Disaster (04:39)
In July 1995, 700 people died in Chicago during a five day high-humidity heatwave. Midwestern heavy rains, followed by a warm air front, blanketed the city in high temperatures reaching 106 degrees; stagnant heat collected between tall buildings. Hospitals reached maximum capacity, struggling to accommodate the sickest patients.
In October 1984, images of Ethiopians suffering from famine and drought reached the developed world; one person died every 20 minutes. Civil war and politics complicated conditions; Oxfam, Save the Children, and Live Aid sent food to the country.
Storm of the Century (09:01)
In March 1993, a superstorm plagued the American east coast, impacting 100 million with the worst winter conditions recorded. A Rocky Mountains low pressure system combined with Arctic air, pushing southeast; it fed 11 tornadoes in Florida before turning north. Blizzards and hurricane winds halted transportation systems and killed 314 people.
United Kingdom Disasters (07:41)
Britain suffered from a series of blizzards in 1962; water bodies froze, transportation systems halted, and power lines fell. In October 1987, hurricane force winds produced the “Great Storm;” 18 people died, hundreds were injured, fifty million trees uprooted, and 1,000 buildings were damaged.
Dust Bowl and Perfect Storm (05:42)
In the 1930s, American plains farmers plowed grasslands to plant wheat, loosening top soils; winds carried it across the country in massive dirt storms. In October 1991, two systems combined near Massachusetts, creating Hurricane Grace; it caused one billion in damages, killed 12 people, and engulfed the Andrea Gail.
South East Asian Deluge (04:52)
During summer 1998, heavy monsoon rains overwhelmed Bangladesh’s surrounding rivers, flooding 75 percent of the country; 21 million homes were damaged. Waters receded after 67 days, leaving towns buried in silt and debris. Water contamination led to disease outbreak and crop failures; 1100 died, and 30 million were displaced.
Credits: Extreme Weather (00:29)
Credits: Extreme Weather
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