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NIHHIS NEWS & UPDATES

CPO and Community Scientists to Map Urban Heat Inequities in 11 States

Extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather event, but not everyone’s risk is the same. Within the same city, some neighborhoods can be up to 20°F hotter than others and, due largely to the practice of historic redlining—discriminatory, race-based lending and housing policies in the 1930s— these hot spots are often home to poorer communities of color.

To learn where action is needed to protect vulnerable populations now and in the future, CPO’s National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) and partners are launching new community-led campaigns that will map the hottest parts of cities in 11 states across the country this summer. The communities include Albuquerque, New Mexico; Atlanta; New York City; Charleston, South Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina; San Diego; San Francisco; and parts of New Jersey, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Virginia. 

“Our Nation faces a growing climate crisis that has exacerbated inequities, particularly for the low-income and communities of color,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The Biden-Harris Administration is ready to take swift action to tackle climate change, and we at the Department of Commerce are so pleased to be partnering with communities around the country toward equitable climate resilience by working with them to design safer, more livable, and healthier cities.” 

The mapping campaigns are part of a collaborative project with CAPA Strategies, LLC and local partners that has empowered many other U.S. communities to map heat in their cities over the past four years. This summer’s new campaigns will cover neighborhoods on both coasts and across America’s heartland.

This map shows the locations of the 2021 urban heat island mapping campaigns cohort and previous campaign locations. NOAA is funding nine of the 2021 campaigns and partnering with four that have secured independent funding. The background shows the average window for the day of the year with the highest maximum temperature based on the 1981-2010 U.S. Climate Normals, the nation’s official record of recent climate. The colors show date ranges progressing from June 1 (lightest yellow) through September 30 (darkest red). The darker the color, the later in the year the hottest day typically arrives. Credit: Climate.gov using data from NOAA NCEI

Local maps for local solutions

Using heat sensors mounted on their own cars or bikes, community volunteers, led by a team of local partners in each city, will traverse their neighborhoods morning, afternoon, and evening on one of the hottest days of the year. The sensors will record temperature, humidity, time, and the volunteers’ location every second. NOAA’s National Weather Service will provide forecasts to help the communities plan their campaigns.

April Rose from the City of Austin’s Forestry Division was part of the volunteer team that collected temperature data in the Austin, Texas area last summer to help produce urban heat maps for the community. Credit: City of Austin

By working with communities, the campaigns will raise awareness among volunteers and residents about heat risk, incorporate local perspectives to produce heat maps, and engage communities in pursuing solutions. 

Cities from past campaigns have used the heat maps to inform heat-mitigation decisions, educate residents and policymakers, and direct research on effective solutions. The city of Houston, Texas incorporated the mapping results into its Climate Action Plan. The city of Richmond, Virginia used data from the heat island campaign to turn city-owned land into new community green spaces.

“Communities are taking action to manage dangerous extreme heat that’s impacting their families and neighbors,” said Hunter Jones, Climate and Health Project Manager with NOAA’s Climate Program Office. “As climate change brings worsening heat waves, the information from these campaigns will help bring local and equitable solutions to those facing the greatest threat.”

Addressing an unequal heat risk

On top of climate change, cityscapes worsen extreme heat’s heavy toll. Known as the “urban heat island effect,” paved, dark surfaces, like roads and buildings, absorb and radiate more heat than natural landscapes with trees and grass, driving up local temperatures.

According to a recent nationwide study spurred by past NOAA and partner heat island campaign efforts, neighborhoods subjected to historical redlining typically lack green space and suffer most from urban heat islands. The study found that 94% of formerly redlined areas, which remain mostly lower income communities of color, are exposed to higher temperatures than non-redlined, affluent areas.

“The mapping campaigns provide a roadmap to help communities alleviate these disparities by identifying specific locations where heat-mitigating interventions could save lives,” said Vivek Shandas, study co-author and Portland State University Climate Adaptation Professor. 

To keep up with the summer 2021 campaigns, subscribe to the Heat Beat Newsletter, check out the National Integrated Heat Health Information System website, or follow #UrbanHeatMaps2021on social media.

Go online for more information on health resources for extreme heat and access urban heat mapping data from past campaigns.

 

The urban heat island mapping campaign is supported by NOAA’s Climate Program Office (CPO) through its National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS)  — a NOAA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention effort — and Communication, Education, and Engagement Division. NIHHIS is funding, in part, nine campaigns and partnering with four that have secured independent funding. The campaigns are jointly coordinated by NIHHIS and CAPA Strategies LLC.

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HEAT FORECASTS

 

 

Current Temperature Probability Outlook

  • 6-10 Day
  • 8-14 Day
  • Month
  • Three Month Outlook
  • Weeks 3-4 Experimental Outlook Temperature Probability
 

6-10 Day Temperature Probability Outlook Map

 

6-10 Day Temperature Probability Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

8-14 Day Temperature Probability Outlook Map

 

8-14 Day Temperature Probability Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

One Month Temperature Probability Outlook

 

One Month Temperature Probability Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

Three Month Temperature Outlook

 

Three Month Temperature Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

Three Month Temperature Outlook

 

Weeks 3-4 Experimental Outlook Temperature Probability

In this experimental map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

Current Heat Index Outlook

  • 8-14 Day Over 95°F
  • 8-14 Day Over 90°F for 2 Days
 

8-14 Day Over 95°F

 

8-14 Day Over 95°F

This map shows the probability that the Average Heat Index (which takes into consideration temperature and humidity) will exceed a given value over for at least 2 days in the forecast window.

 

8-14 Day Over 90°F for 2 Days

 

8-14 Day Over 90°F for 2 Days

This map shows the probability that the Average Heat Index (which takes into consideration temperature and humidity) will exceed a given value over for at least 2 days in the forecast window.

Global Tropical Hazards at Weeks 1 & 2

 

8-14 Day over 95°F

 

8-14 Day Over 95°F

This map shows global tropical hazards predicted by NOAA for the upcoming two week period. Orange and blue coloring indicates the level of confidence that above or below normal temperatures, respectively, will develop in the forecast window.

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UNDERSTANDING THE HEALTH RISK OF EXTREME HEAT

 

Health Outcomes

Exposure to extreme heat can have many direct effects on human health (heat stroke, reduced labor productivity), as well as indirect effects (promoting air pollution and increasing asthma attacks, overloading power grids requiring rolling blackouts). Negative health outcomes occur if an individual is exposed to the hazard and has not sufficiently adapted to reduce sensitivity.


Sensitivity

Sensitivity

Inherent characteristics of a person that make them vulnerable to heat, such as preexisting conditions, age, or occupation. To understand how to protect these groups, see Populations of Concern.

 

Adaptability

Adaptability

The ability of a person to take measures to reduce exposure and sensitivity - for example, avoiding outdoor activities during the day or wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) that is designed to mitigate heat buildup. When exposure is not preventable, adaptability can help reduce the impact of heat.

 

Exposure

Exposure

The extent to which an individual is exposed to extreme heat. Going outside on a hot, humid day and working in direct sunlight constitutes high exposure, while reducing exposure includes avoidance of these activities. Sometimes exposure is not preventable.

Climate conditions

Climate conditions

Climate conditions that create a heat hazard include direct sunlight, low winds, high humidity, and high temperatures. When these conditions exist, a heat hazard is created.

 

 

 

AT-RISK GROUPS

Higher summertime temperatures are linked to an increased risk of illnesses and death, particularly among certain groups. Select a group below to learn more.

 

Children

Read More

Emergency Responders

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Older Adults

Read More

Outdoor Workers

Read More

Athletes

Read More

Pets

Read More

 

 

 

 

 

HEAT WARNINGS IN YOUR AREA

View heat warnings in your area by state

 

 

 

STAYING SAFE DURING A HEAT WAVE

 

Key Safety Tips

  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Check the weather/listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).

 

 

Safety Tips If You Have To Go Outside

  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect face and head by wearing sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
  • Download the FEMA App for heat advisories and safety tips.
  • Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).

Safety Tips Before Extreme Heat Arrives

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are older, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.

Tips to Prepare Your Home

  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.

Heat Related Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme heat hazard:

  • Heat Wave - Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  • Heat Index - A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
  • Heat Cramps - Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
  • Heat Exhaustion - Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim's condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
  • Heat Stroke - A life-threatening condition. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
  • Sun Stroke - Another term for heat stroke.
  • Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
  • Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).

 

 


 

NIHHIS is made possible by our participating agencies.

ASPR


CDC


EPA

FEMA


NIOSH


NOAA

OSHA


SAMHSA

 

NIHHIS Headquarters

Address: 1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910

About Us

NIHHIS is an integrated information system that builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat, defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience, develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat.  NIHHIS is a jointly developed system by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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