There were 407 deaths caused by wind related tree failures in the United States during 1995-2007, an average of 31 per year. These occurred in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Of the 407 known deaths caused by wind-related tree failure during 1995-2007, the location of the victim (such as in vehicle, outdoors, in house) was known for all 407 deaths, age was known for 392 (96 percent), and sex was known for 391 (96 percent). Most (62 percent) of the victims were male with a median age of 44 years. Forty-four percent were struck by a fallen tree or limb while in a vehicle, 38 percent were struck outdoors, and 18 percent were struck while in their home – half in a mobile home and half in a frame house. Table 1 contains a summary of this information.
The regional distributions of deaths are shown on the map (Fig. 1, next page). Most incidents involved a single death, however, two fallen trees caused four deaths each. A falling tree struck a school bus carrying 10 children during a nonconvective high wind event in Queens, New York City, on March 6, 1997, killing four and injuring six. A tree fell on a vehicle in Yakima County, Washington, on August 26, 1997, killing all four occupants. This event is listed as a “high wind” in Storm Data, although other damaging events that day are listed as “thunderstorms.” The discussion below examines deaths based on the type of severe weather that caused the fallen trees.
There were 165 deaths from fallen trees caused by thunderstorm winds. About 40 percent of these thunderstorms are expected to have been associated with derechos. Derechos are widespread, long-lived windstorms that are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Most (58 percent) of the deaths were male, the median age was 39 years (range 1-89 years), and deaths occurred primarily to persons in vehicles (47 percent) and outdoors (40 percent).