Aug 17, 2022 - News

Nashville's place on the "heat belt"

Counties expected to experience heat indices above 125°F by 2053
Note: Shaded counties are those that will, on average, have 0.5 days or more at or above a 125F° heat index in 2053; Data: First Street Foundation; Map: Axios Visuals

Nashville has been especially sweltering this summer, but a new report found conditions will get progressively worse in the years to come.

  • The study found Music City and some of Middle Tennessee are part of an emerging "extreme heat belt," where the heat index could reach 125°F on at least one day a year by 2053.

Driving the news: The findings come from a hyperlocal analysis of current and future extreme heat events published this week by the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is dangerous and poses many serious health risks.

  • Davidson and Williamson were among the counties included in the "extreme heat belt."

By the numbers: The Nashville Office of Emergency Management has received 435 heat-related health calls so far this year.

Zoom out: In just 30 years, 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 reports.

State of play: Hotter conditions will continue to put added stress on the power grid as well as the health system.

  • Statewide, Tennessee will see its cooling costs jump by nearly $75 million from 2023-2053, according to the report.

The big picture: The report, which is based on First Street's peer-reviewed heat model, shows that the number of Americans currently exposed to "extreme heat" is just 8 million.

  • That number is expected to balloon to 107 million people, an increase of 13 times over 30 years.

What we're watching: Nashville is participating in a heat-mapping campaign this summer in which volunteers record the temperature in various parts of the city to identify heat islands and other current trends.

  • The results will help guide future mitigation efforts.

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