Biden administration unveils website about heat
The Biden administration unveiled a website on Tuesday to help Americans stay safe from extreme heat, as scorching temperatures continued to grip portions of the country.
The website, heat.gov, includes interactive maps, forecasts, tips on keeping cool and other data designed to help federal, state and local officials prepare for and cope with heat waves.
“Extreme heat is a silent killer, yet it affects more Americans than any other weather emergency — particularly our nation’s most vulnerable,” Gina McCarthy, President Biden’s national climate adviser, said in a statement.
The announcement comes after negotiations over Mr. Biden’s climate legislation collapsed in Congress, even as the consequences of rising global temperatures are becoming even more clear. Over the past week, more than 100 million Americans roasted under heat advisories or warnings, although by Tuesday that number had dipped to about 38 million.
Last week, Mr. Biden announced that he would allocate $2.3 billion from an existing Federal Emergency Management Agency program to help communities withstand severe heat, storms, fires and floods made more intense by a warming planet.
The burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil emit greenhouse gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere. That causes global temperatures to rise, leading to more frequent and severe extreme heat waves in the United States and around the world.
According to the administration, extreme heat has been the greatest weather-related cause of death in the United States for the past 30 years — more than hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding or extreme cold. It is responsible for the deaths of more than 700 people and hospitalization of more than 6,000 people per year, the government said.
“The trend is disturbing,” Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said on Tuesday. In addition to endangering public health, extreme heat is also “incredibly expensive,” said Raimondo, who estimated that the United States loses $100 billion each year because people who labor outdoors can’t work under extremely hot conditions.