One California area considered ‘most vulnerable’ to extreme heat on federal map

(NEXSTAR) – New government projections suggest extreme hot days will become more frequent over the next three decades. Given the warming trend, this summer, with its widespread heatwave, “is likely to be one of the coolest summers of the rest of our lives,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration launched a new website, heat.gov, which includes not only hot weather health advice but also maps and forecasts showing how high temperatures will impact the country.

One government map combines data from NOAA on future heat events with the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, which evaluates people’s vulnerability to poverty, disability, housing and transportation problems.

Of the 10 counties deemed “most vulnerable,” all are in South or Texas except for one: Imperial County, California.

Imperial County is on the state’s southern border, east of San Diego. The district capital El Centro already had an average height of 107 degrees in July, but is only expected to be hotter between now and 2050, according to NOAA projections. In thirty years, the Southern California region is projected to have 147 days per year with temperatures above 95 degrees. In 2080, this is 182 days — half of all days of the year.

It is also the second poorest county in California, with a median household income of about $46,000. The district’s low incomes, as well as its high prevalence of disability and housing insecurity, make it more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Elsewhere on the map, seen here, states in the Southeast and Mount West could experience more than 35 days of extreme heat — when temperatures exceed the record top 1% — by 2050.

Almost the entire state of Florida falls into this area, which may not be too surprising considering that the Sunshine State is famous for its warm temperatures. Similar projections have been made for the southern tip of Texas and the county that runs along the Gulf of Mexico, and along the Mississippi River in the north toward the southern edge of Illinois.

Other states in the West, such as Arizona and Nevada, could experience between 20 and 30 days of extreme heat in 2050. States in the southern Midwest—especially Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio—are projected to have a similar future.

North Midwest states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan; most of New England; northern Plains states such as Montana; and parts of the Dakotas could still see an increase in the rate of extreme hot days but on a trend closer to 15 to 25 days a year.

However, there are areas across the US that may barely feel the rise in extreme hot days. It includes parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, swaths of the Dakota, and counties along the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Seattle to Santa Barbara.

You can see the potential of your community for very hot days here.

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