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Researchers Say Extreme Heat Is The Most Deadly Weather Condition


Extreme heat kills more people than another other weather condition including hurricanes and tornadoes. A Florida State University researcher is looking into how that might by impacted by rising global temperatures.

Many of the people who are affected by extreme heat are unable to afford air conditioning for their homes and can sometimes be house-bound. Researcher Christopher Uejio says without something to cool it down, indoor temperatures can soar. He says studies show when temperatures outside reach 96 degrees indoor temperatures can be as hot as 130.

"Anywhere form half or more of the deaths from an extreme heat event might actually be people who live alone  who don’t have any social contacts or way of asking for assistance,” Uejio says.

Uejio received a grant from the federal Environmental Protection agency to study the issue and its relationship to climate change. He says with increasing temperatures, episodes of extreme heat will become longer lasting and more wide-spread.

“That being said it’s not just the doom and gloom scenario, because a couple of those assumptions assume that our efforts stay the same,” Uejio says.

He points to a community effort in Philadelphia. It encourages neighbors to check up on each other during extreme heat situations and has saved more than 100 lives. Uijio says his work will help community leaders identify when and where extreme heat has the most dangerous impacts and will help them plan their own efforts to protect vulnerable citizens.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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