'Extreme Heat Belt' Forming in U.S. South, Midwest, Report Says




  • In Business
  • 2022-08-17 11:39:08Z
  • By HuffPost
 

Across large swathes of the U.S., roughly 108 million people will be living in an "extreme heat belt" by 2053 that delivers searing temperatures more frequently and for longer periods, new research shows

The heat belt, described in a peer-reviewed model published Monday by nonprofit research group First Street Foundation, includes large parts of the South and Midwest, where punishing stretches of days-on-end heat - some with the heat index reaching 125 degrees - will become normal.

"We need to be prepared for the inevitable, that a quarter of the country will soon fall inside the Extreme Heat Belt with temperatures exceeding 125 and the results will be dire," said Matthew Eby, founder and CEO of First Street Foundation.

The group found that the "most severe shift" in temperatures over the next three decades will be in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The heat index combines air temperature and relative humidity to calculate what the weather feels like to the human body, according to the National Weather Service. A heat index over 125 is an "extreme danger" and "highly likely" to result in heat stroke with prolonged exposure, the Weather Service says.

First Street Foundation used its model to create a website that allows you to see how any neighborhood will be affected in 30 years by the worsening climate crisis.

The report comes after a month with the hottest nights in recorded U.S. history, according to Yale Climate Connections meteorologist Bob Henson.

July 2022 marked the third-hottest month on record, as well, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Researchers found that 8.1 million Americans are expected to experience days with "extreme danger" heat index temperatures next year. That number will grow by nearly 100 million in three decades, the report says.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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