Story at a glance
- The Biden administration launched a new heat preparedness website called Heat.gov on Tuesday.
- The website comes as the country deals with rolling heat waves that have broken hundreds of local high temperature records.
- As global warming worsens due to human-influenced climate change, summers are expected to get hotter and more dangerous.
The Biden administration launched a new website Tuesday aimed at helping Americans handle extreme heat.
Heat.gov is an interagency project with information on heat conditions across the country in the form of interactive maps and forecasts, as well as heat responses and how to lower the risks that come with high temperatures.
“President Biden has directed us to respond to the extreme heat gripping the nation. Extreme heat is a silent killer, yet it affects more Americans than any other weather emergency — particularly our nation’s most vulnerable,” said Gina McCarthy, White House national climate advisor. “Heat.gov is an exciting new and accessible website designed to help everyone become engaged with their community, their state-level government, and federal partners, to take actions that can reduce the deadly health impacts of extreme heat.”
The new one-stop portal comes as the nation suffers from rolling heat waves that have pushed temperatures into the triple digits, breaking hundreds of local heat records.
Over the last month, more than 1,400 daily high-temperature records and more than 2,850 warmest overnight low temperature records have been broken or tied, AXIOS reported.
And June of this year was the second hottest June in the Northern Hemisphere on record, coming in at 2.81 degrees Fahrenheit above average, shattering last June’s record high land temperature, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Global warming is causing summers to grow hotter and more deadly, climate experts say. As the summers become more unbearably hot, poor air quality will become exacerbated during the summer months and people run a greater risk of succumbing to heat-related illnesses.
“Extreme heat is a global health threat, and due to human-caused climate change, it’s getting worse,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “Reducing the risks of extreme heat in our country requires a whole-of-government effort, which is why NOAA has led a large federal coalition to create, launch and manage Heat.gov.”
Most heat-related illnesses and death can be prevented with planning, preparation and education, NOAA notes in a statement.
The most vulnerable in the heat are children and people who suffer from chronic illnesses, low-income Americans and people who spend long periods of time outdoors, like athletes and outdoor workers.
“Currently, few health systems have heat action plans and heat exposure is rarely integrated into real-time clinical health decision-making for patients,” said Cecilia Sorensen, associate professor and director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University.
“With more frequent, intense and longer lasting heat waves, there is an urgent need for increased health system preparedness to meet the growing burden of heat-related illness. These new tools will allow health systems easy access to the information they need to promote climate-readiness and heat-resiliency, ultimately improving patient and community health outcomes while reducing system-wide impacts and improving the efficiency of health systems.”
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