Record humidity levels also accompanied the hot weather. With heat waves set to increase over the coming decades, how can we fight this invisible killer? “The city set new records for energy use, which then led to the failure of some power grids—at one point, 49,000 households had no electricity. Humidity was reportedly a more significant factor in 1995, as opposed to earlier regional heat waves. PMID: 8649494 In this case study, head back to 1995 Chicago, when one of the deadliest heat waves in US history struck the city, killing hundreds. No official heat emergency warning was released until the last day of the heat wave. … There are limits to what any emergency plan can accomplish,” Klinenberg observed, referring to Chicago’s ongoing social stresses. But the elderly, and especially the elderly who lived alone, were most vulnerable to the heat wave. North Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30332 in 1993 and 1980, respectively, and were selected as complementary case studies. What does he mean by Hundreds of young people were hospitalized with heat-related illnesses. The morgue typically receives about 17 bodies a day and has a total of 222 bays. . WORKSHOP: Community Brainstorms Climate Resilience Solutions. BACKGROUND During the summer of 1999, Chicago's second deadliest heat wave of the decade resulted in at least 80 deaths. The heat wave in July 1995 in Chicago was one of the worst weather-related disasters in Illinois history with over 700 deaths over a 5-day period. Train rails warped, causing long commuter and freight delays. Police officers had to wait as long as three hours for a worker to receive the body. Temperatures were 20-30% higher than the seasonal average over most of the continent (Figure 1). J. Technology, SLCE Nuts and Bolts (Service Learning & Community Engagement), Faculty Guidance and Resources - Online Teaching, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health, Infrastructure: Physical, Technological, Social, Human What makes Heat Wave such an essential book at this moment in American politics is that, using the 1995 heat wave as his paradigm, Klinenberg has written a forceful account of what it means to be poor, old, sick and alone in the era of American entrepreneurial government. NP1837-NP1846 CrossRef View Record in Scopus Google Scholar Impacts of the heat wave on the Chicago urban center were exacerbated by an “urban heat island effect” that raised nocturnal temperatures by more than 3.6 °F. Recognizing climate change will affect extreme heat events among many other weather events, Chicago decided to conduct a vulnerability assessment to better understand the threat. And now the city is facing another. On Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicagoans awoke to a blistering day in which the temperature would reach 106 degrees. . The city’s health-care system was severely taxed as thousands were taken to local hospitals with heat-related problems, such as dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. He argues that hot weather by itself does not explain why so many Chicagoans died that summer and goes on to tell us he will present the results of his socialautopsy of the deaths. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications now houses under one roof its emergency responders unit, 311 Call Center, and the Traffic Management Authority, all to help the city mobilize during an extreme heat event and to better collect data that helps the city identify its most vulnerable areas. By contrast, during the heat waves of the 1930s, many local residents slept in parks or along the shore of Lake Michigan. Learn about the demographics that were particularly vulnerable to the heat wave, and how those vulnerabilities made this heat wave (and others like it) not just a natural disaster, but a social one. In July 1995 some 500-750 people died in Chicago during a torpid 5-day heat wave on July 12-16 that hit the city. Many Chicagoans swarmed the city’s beaches, but others took to the fire hydrants. . Thus, emergency measures such as Chicago’s five cooling centers were not fully utilized. In 1995, Chicago experienced an extreme heat event that led to the deaths of several hundred people over the course of five days. The key players recount how one of Chicago… Graphic of projected urban heat island exacerbated by climate change. All content © 2020 by . In this case study, head back to 1995 Chicago, when one of the deadliest heat waves in US history struck the city, killing hundreds. 404.894.2000, © Georgia Institute of Chicago’s Deadly 1995 Heat Wave: An Oral History In July 1995, a scorching three-day stretch caught the city unprepared, leaving 739 dead. From the moment the local medical examiner began to report heat-related mortality figures, some political leaders, journalists, and even the mayor, actively denied the disaster’s real significance. The state’s climatologist Jim Angel agrees that Chicago will continue to be vulnerable to heat waves because of rising temperatures associated with climate change, the urban heat island effect and the socio-economic makeup of the area- its high percentage of lower-income, elderly residents. Twenty-three hospitals—most on the South and Southwest Sides—went on bypass status, closing the doors of their emergency rooms to new patients. . The 1995 heat wave also had a heavy impact on the wider Midwestern region, with additional deaths in St. Louis and Milwaukee. The 1995 Chicago heat wave. Case Study - August 2003 heatwave Europe More than 20,000 people died after a record-breaking heatwave left Europe sweltering between June - August 2003. It was gruesome and incredible for this to be happening in the middle of a modern American city.”, The full interview can be read at: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html. The heat index reached 119 °F at O’Hare Airport, and 125 °F at Midway Airport. Chicago has also initiated several adaptation-related policies to reduce the urban heat island effect. “Of course forces of nature played a major role. “The heat made the city’s roads buckle. By Saturday—just three days into the heat wave—its capacity was exceeded by hundreds, and the county had to bring in a fleet of refrigerated trucks to store the bodies. Other factors that contributed to the high death rate, the state’s climatologist argued, were an inadequate local heat wave warning system, power failures, inadequate ambulance service and hospital facilities, and the aging of the population in urban areas. This event prompted the city to strengthen and update its heat emergency response system. The 1995 heat wave also had a heavy impact on the wider Midwestern region, with additional deaths in St. Louis and Milwaukee. EDITOR’S NOTE: AdaptNY prepared this case study for a 2014 workshop in Chicago that explored risks that different regions must grapple with in the face of climate change. . Eric Klinenberg, assistant professor of sociology at New York University (formally of Northwestern University), wrote "Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago" in order to further investigate the devastating Chicago heat wave of 1995. Temperature would reach 106 degrees and the actual heat index was almost degrees! 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