New CDC tool to help cities prepare for extreme heat

Local News

The Heat & Health Tracker is the first-of-its-kind according to the National Integrated Heat Health Information System.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the tracker to help public health planners make informed decisions and locate where the most vulnerable populations are.

The tracker provides data on age, poverty, health insurance, and temperatures. It includes a projection for an average 39 days above 90 degrees by 2050 based on data used in the 4th National Climate Assessment.

Blacktop, brick, and stee absorb light energy from the sun and convert it into heat. Cities with higher concentrations of these things are considered Urban Heat Islands. Dayton tends to be 2-5 degrees warmer than the surrounding area.

“Just like any other midwest city it can definitely get hot,” Dayton Fire Department Public Information Officer, Brad French said.

It was mostly cloudy in Dayton today. The temperature of the Blacktop in the parking lot was 112 degrees. Plants shaded by a tree were 91 degrees.

“In the dense urban core where we have a lot of concrete that can absorb and reradiate some of that heat,” French said.

When the heat index breaks 100 for several days the Dayton Fire Department will help open three cooling centers in the city.

“Sometimes we will staff a medical unit there just to keep an eye on all the folks in the cooling centers and make sure everyone is staying safe and staying healthy,” French said.

So far this summer Dayton experienced two heat waves. One lasted nine days.

NOAA research continues to show a warming trend with hotter and longer heat waves expected in the future.

“Stay out of the sun. Try to find some shade. Try to find an air-conditioned area and try to stay hydrated,” French said.

NOAA is working with the NIHHIS to map the hottest locations in 13 major cities. Volunteers took part in the research for Cincinnati on Aug. 10. A detailed urban heat map will be developed to help identify what neighborhoods are the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

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