Worries About Drowning Come with Heat
As heat across a big chunk of the U.S. drives people into pools and lakes to cool off, public health officials are worried about a heightened risk of drowning.
Minnesota has had more drowning deaths so far this year than any time in the past decade, and officials in Illinois and Michigan are seeing an uptick in some areas, too. Drowning deaths historically go up in the summer months, but the intensely hot weather may also be putting even more people at risk as they flock to water for relief, some without swimming skills.
Much of the central and eastern U.S. has experienced particularly hot weather in recent days, with temperatures climbing into the 100s in several cities. In the Midwest, even low temperatures have been setting record highs, meaning people aren't able to get relief even overnight.
Few states release hard numbers on drownings at this point in the year, but Minnesota counted 25 non-boating drowning deaths through July 5, the highest in a decade. The deaths happened in lakes, rivers and ponds as well as manmade pools, hot tubs and bathtubs. The numbers include four who fell through ice in the winter. In a state with a multitude of lakes, a warm year has driven even those who don't normally swim to the water.