Weather kills 2,000 a year; cold is top culprit

NEW YORK -- A new government report says weather kills at least 2,000 Americans each year, and nearly two-thirds of those deaths are from the cold.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledge that may surprise some people. Report author Deborah Ingram says hurricanes, tornadoes and heat waves "get more publicity, for some reason, than cold-related deaths."

Researchers looked at 10,649 deaths attributed to the weather, such as flooding, heat, storms and lightning over a five-year period.

About 31 percent of the deaths were caused by heat, heat stroke or sun stroke. The remaining 6 percent were blamed on storms, floods or lightning.

The highest heat-related death rates were in cities and very rural areas, and people 65 and older had much higher death rates than younger people. Researchers say that may be because it's harder for them to endure temperature extremes.