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Govt Launches Heat.gov As 30 Million Americans Are Under Heat Advisories

Heat.gov – Website Screenshot

ASHEBORO N.C. (RCSVWX)- Today 38,308,317 Americans are under active National Weather Service extreme heat advisories, watches, and warnings. That number comes from the government’s new heat.gov website.

The National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) officially launched the site today following an online webinar with news outlets from across the country.

Heat.gov is a collaboration of NIHHIS’ federal government partners, including NOAA, CDC, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

NOAA’s Climate Program Office and National Weather Service, in partnership with the CDC, founded the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) to bring together all federal agencies and programs focused on societal heat resilience to jointly improve federal, state and local capacity to reduce the health, economic and infrastructural impacts of extreme heat.

The goal of the site, “to provide the public and decision-makers with clear, timely and science-based information to understand and reduce the health risks of extreme heat. Heat.gov will provide a one-stop hub on heat and health for the nation and is a priority of President Biden’s National Climate Task Force and its Interagency Working Group on Extreme Heat,” according to a press release form the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) communication office.

Current Heat Forecast Map for 7/26/22 from Heat.gov

July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, and summers are getting hotter and deadlier. The annual average temperature of the contiguous United States has already warmed over the past few decades and is projected to rise by 5°F – 8.7°F by the end of this century. Heat-related illnesses and death are largely preventable with proper planning, monitoring and education.

Extreme heat has been the greatest weather-related cause of death in the U.S. for the past 30 years — more than hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding or extreme cold — killing over 700 people per year. In addition, the heat crisis does not affect people equally. Extreme heat mortality disproportionately affects Native American and Black communities, as well as those living in the urban core or very rural neighborhoods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

City officials, the growing number of heat resilience officers, as well as doctors, nurses, first responders, researchers and the general public, are increasingly requesting federal support to understand the complex and dangerous impacts of extreme heat. Heat.gov helps to meet this growing demand for authoritative heat and health tools and information. 

In our next article on Randolph County Severe Weather, we will speak with local officials, emergency managers, and healthcare providers to find out just how prepared Randolph County is to face higher temperature, more often and explore how you can prepare and stay safe.