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heat waves kill more people in the United States than all of the other so-called natural disasters combined. More than 400 Americans die from heat-related illnesses in a typical year. Annual mortality from tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods together is under 200.
In the past three decades, New York City (1972, 1984), St. Louis (1980), Philadelphia (1993), Dallas (1998), and Milwaukee (1995) have experienced massively deadly heat waves. But in recent years, Chicago has become the national epicenter of heat mortality.
We can expand the supportive housing and social-service programs available to the people most likely to die in heat waves. And Congress can provide the poor with energy subsidies for summer cooling, just as it does for winter heat.