What's more dangerous, hot weather or cold? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

What's more dangerous, hot weather or cold?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego's weather is running the gamut this year. One day it's cold and rainy, the next it's hot and windy. Under certain circumstances, either can pose a danger, but which is more deadly to people?

In San Diego County we get the best of both worlds -- triple-digit hot days along with cold ones that deliver snow in the higher elevations. San Diego's average high temperature is 70 degrees. The average low is only 57 degrees, and those mild temperatures could help you live longer.

According to the CDC, in 2007 2.4 million people died in the U.S., with an average life expectancy of 78 years old. The question is, what's more likely to kill you, hot or cold?

Two years ago, the University of South Carolina released a death map that showed the most dangerous places to live in America are the south because of the heat and the great plains because of the severe weather.

According to their study of natural disasters, heat and drought cause nearly 20 percent of total deaths. When the heat rises in San Diego, there are dozens of Cool Zones at senior centers, libraries and malls.

The death map study also determined although wildfires, earthquakes and hurricanes hog the headlines, all three account for fewer than five percent of disaster deaths.

The truth is, you're more likely to die in the cold where snowy conditions make driving deadly. Shoveling snow can lead to heart attacks, not to mention flu season and infectious diseases that spread faster because people stay together in more concentrated groups during the winter.

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, between 2001 and 2007, 95,000 more people died during the 121 days of cold months, 800 more deaths a day compared to when it was warmer. In other words, watch out for the winter.

Speaking of frigid conditions, nationwide this could be a winter for the record books. CBS News reports there is snow on the ground in every single state, except for Florida.

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