Thunderstorm Asthma and London Ambulance Data
London Ambulance Service compiles an illness category for each Category A (life threatening) incident. Triaged Cat A illness data for 4505 days (3,677,454 incidents) between the 1st April 2001 and the end of July 2013 has been examined for a study on the impact of extreme weather and climate on LAS operations [1,2]. As part of this study a number of very significant asthma peaks have been identified - which may also be related to thunderstorm activity in London. The average daily number of asthma incidents across London is close to 24 (about 3% of Cat A calls). On the following dates, associated with thunderstorm activity recorded at Hampstead in London , the following number of asthma incidents were recorded:
06/08/2002 100 cases (22% of Cat A incidents) 17/06/2003 63 cases (14% of Cat A incidents) 24/06/2005 136 cases (30% of Cat A incidents) 25/06/2005 149 cases (33% of Cat A incidents) 13/06/2006 89 cases (20% of Cat A incidents) 16/06/2009 112 cases (25% of Cat A incidents) 23/07/2013 34 cases ( 8% of Cat A incidents)
Further analysis of the thunderstorm locations and timings are currently being examined and it will be interesting to see if these peaks are linked to other factors such as pollen/fungal spore levels.
Thornes JE (2013) The Impact of Extreme Weather and Climate Change on Ambulance Incidents and Response Times in London: Pilot Report for the London Ambulance Service.  Thornes JE (2013) Predicting Demand through Climate Data, Ambulance Today, 4 (10), 39-42 http://www.weather-uk.com/hampstead/data.htm
Conflict of Interest: