Sep 7, 2023 - Climate

New Orleans suffers through its hottest summer on record

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

New Orleans just marked its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in June, July and August shattering previous highs.

  • New Orleans also had its hottest recorded day ever: 105, smashing the previous record of 102 set in 1980.

Why it matters: 32 people have died this summer in Louisiana from heat-related causes, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Meanwhile, the state had nearly 600 wildfires in August, and drought conditions are worsening.

By the numbers: New Orleans this year beat the previous summer record set in 2016, according to the National Weather Service in Slidell.

  • August set a new all-time record for the hottest month, and July was the hottest July on record, forecasters said. This year also had the most 100°F days in New Orleans.
  • Slidell and Baton Rouge broke their summer records as well.

Threat level: The extreme heat is even more concerning during the height of the Atlantic hurricane season.

  • Any storm-related power outage would be more dangerous because of the oppressive heat, officials say, and evacuations will be a higher priority if the city is threatened.
  • Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued an emergency declaration Aug. 8 related to the heat, citing the threat of tropical weather as why it will be in effect until Oct. 1. The state later followed, unlocking more government resources.

Context: Other Southern cities also set records for their hottest June-through-August periods, including Miami, Houston and Corpus Christi, writes Axios' Andrew Freedman.

The backdrop: Climate change is causing heat waves to be more intense, longer-lasting and more frequent. Studies in recent years have shown that some extreme heat events were virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.

Zoom in: Cooling centers are open to the public in New Orleans.

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