Aug 18, 2022 - News

"Dangerous" heat days in Miami will nearly double by 2053, study says

Increase in the annual number of days above 100°F
Data: First Street Foundation; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

If Miami summers feel hot now, new research predicts that our days of extreme heat will skyrocket in the coming decades.

Driving the news: Miami-Dade leads the nation in counties that will see the biggest jump in so-called dangerous days, when the heat index passes 100°F, by 2053, according to a nationwide study by the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

  • Broward and Palm Beach counties are close behind.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S. In Miami-Dade, rising heat indexes are increasing residents' risk of heat-related illnesses and even death, according to a county heat study.

  • Miami-Dade has more than 100,000 outdoor workers, more than any other county in Florida, according to the Miami Herald.

What they're saying: Understanding future heat risks can help local communities make more informed decisions about how to protect their health and properties, the First Street study's authors write.

Zoom in: Miamians will experience about 40 extra days where the heat index is over 100 degrees – from about 50 days in 2023 to 91 days in 2053 – according to the study.

Of note: The heat index — known as the "feels like" temperature — factors in temperature and relative humidity.

The big picture: In the coming decades, climate change will cause the Lower 48 states to be a far hotter and more precarious place to be during the summer, Axios' Andrew Freedman writes.

  • Conservative estimates say the average temperature will increase by 2.5 degrees across the U.S. in the next 30 years.

The extremes: The study projects that "extreme danger" events — when heat indexes pass 125°F — will impact 107 million people across the U.S. in 2053, an increase of 13 times over 30 years.

  • These extremely high heat indexes are projected to be concentrated in an "extreme heat belt," which would stretch north from Texas and Louisiana through Iowa, Indiana and Illinois.
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