New government projections show days of extreme heat will become more frequent over the next three decades. Given warming trends, this summer, with its widespread heat waves, “is likely to be one of the coolest summers of the rest of our lives,” Commerce Secretary 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 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 a community’s vulnerability to poverty, disability, housing and transportation issues.
Of the 10 counties deemed “most vulnerable,” all are in the South or Texas except one: Imperial County, California.
Imperial County is on the state’s southern border, east of San Diego. The county seat of El Centro already has an average high of 107 degrees in July, but is only expected to get hotter between now and 2050, according to NOAA’s projections. In thirty years, the Southern California county is projected to have 147 days per year with temperatures over 95 degrees. By 2080, it’s 182 days — half of all days in the year.
It’s also the second poorest county in California, with a median household income around $46,000. The county’s low income, as well as high prevalence of disabilities and housing insecurity, make it more vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change.
Elsewhere on the map, seen here, states in the Southeast and Mountain West could experience more than 35 extreme heat days — when temperatures surpass the top 1% on record — by 2050.
Nearly the entire state of Florida falls into that realm, which may not be much of a surprise considering the Sunshine State is well known for its warm temperatures. Similar projections have been made for the southern tip of Texas and counties stretching along the Gulf of Mexico, and those along the Mississippi River north toward the southern edge of Illinois.
Other states in the West, like Arizona and Nevada, could see between 20 and 30 days of extreme heat by 2050. States in the southern Midwest — primarily Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio — are projected to have similar futures.
Northern Midwest states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan; most of New England; northern Plain states such as Montana; and parts of the Dakotas could still see an increased rate of extreme heat days but on a trend closer to 15 to 25 days a year.
There are, however, areas throughout the U.S. that may hardly notice a rise in extreme heat days. That includes portions of Kansas and Oklahoma, swaths of the Dakotas, and the counties along the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Seattle to Santa Barbara.
To see your community’s potential for extreme heat days, click here.