White House launches website to help people with extreme heat

Weather

(Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — A new website rolled out on Tuesday by the Biden administration aims to provide people with resources to deal with the extreme heat.

Heat.gov has what the White House says is a “one-stop hub” of information heat and health for the nation, including information on heat-related illnesses, a climate and health outlook and maps that show the vulnerability of different counties,

Millions of people around the U.S. have been dealing with heat waves and warnings, with some states seeing temperatures hit as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday saw the hottest stretch of a week-long heat wave in the Pacific Northwest region, a place that usually doesn’t experience such scorching weather.

The heat has caused disruptions to various infrastructure. Texas might be worse off than any other state: about 99% of the state is facing drought conditions, and water supply is being heavily taxed. Fort Worth alone recorded more than 200 heat-related water main breaks in the past 20 days as the ground cracks and shifts under strenuous heat.

In the West, wildfires are raging as the region also deals with state-wide droughts.

“Extreme heat is a silent killer, yet it affects more Americans than any other weather emergency — particularly our nation’s most vulnerable,” Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser, said in a statement. “Heat.gov is an exciting new and accessible website designed to help everyone become engaged with their community, their state-level government, and federal partners, to take actions that can reduce the deadly health impacts of extreme heat.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were an average of 702 heat-related deaths from 2004-2018, making it the greatest weather-related cause of death in the U.S. for the past 20 years.

Extreme heat mortality disproportionately affects Native American and Black communities, and those living in urban core or very rural neighborhoods, the CDC said.

Launching Heat.gov is just the latest measure to address high temperatures, according to the White House.

“For far too long, our most vulnerable populations are the ones who bear the brunt of extreme heat,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Heat.gov provides real tools and resources that can help people who are suffering. This is one more important step the Administration is taking to address climate change’s impact on our health and our lives.”

Advocates have been asking President Joe Biden to take strong action to combat climate change, which scientists say is making these extreme heat events more intense and more common. Although he has pledged to cut g greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, the president has resisted declaring a national climate emergency as some have urged him to.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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