Here’s a lazyweb question, the product of an afternoon at the office with entirely too much time on our hands. (Hey, it was this or writing about White Christmas. Again.)
The “storm death toll” is a newsroom staple:
At least 19 deaths were linked to the weekend-long blast of ice and windblown snow, which led to multi-car pileups that closed sections of several major highways on the Plains.
I’d like suggestions regarding how to deconstruct this number.
Let us assume that 19 people did, in fact, die in traffic accidents related to the storm. During non-storm conditions, what would be the normal traffic death toll in the area in question? How does that compare with the death toll during the storm? (My hypothesis: that lots of people stay home during a bad-ass storm, and that despite the storm-related traffic death toll, the net effect is to reduce the total traffic death toll. Just call me “Lomborg.”)