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CDC Launches Online 'Heat Forecaster' Tool as Another Summer Looms
  • Posted April 23, 2024

CDC Launches Online 'Heat Forecaster' Tool as Another Summer Looms

Last summer was a record-breaker for heat emergencies, so the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday launched a new online heat forecaster to help folks better prepare as summer nears.

The HeatRisk Forecast Tool is a joint effort between the CDC and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service to give Americans a week-long heads-up that broiling temperatures are headed their way.

It's all close at hand at the HeatRisk Dashboard online -- just plug in your zip code for the latest forecast and updates.

“Heat can impact our health, but heat-related illness and death are preventable,” CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement. “We are releasing new heat and health tools and guidance to help people take simple steps to stay safe in the heat.”

Climate change is making for more and longer periods of hot, humid weather. ER visits for heart-related illness peaked in many regions of the country last summer, and working-age folk who were forced to labor outside faced higher risks.

But extreme heat experienced without the help of air conditioning can also be hazardous to people with underlying health issues, the CDC added.

The new HeatRisk tool "identifies health and temperature data to deliver a seven-day outlook for hot weather," the CDC explained. "The tool uses a five-level scale to indicate how risky the heat level is in a specific area."

The tool is calibrated to assess the unique risks from heat to health that might come in specific areas of the United States.

"Pulling in data from the HeatRisk Forecast Tool, in the Dashboard people can enter their zip code and get personalized heat forecast information for their location alongside protective actions to take," the CDC said.

There's also info on your local area's air quality, sourced from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's AIR NOW Air Quality Index.

Once you know your risk from heat, humidity and unhealthy air, you can head to the CDC's Heat and Your Health page to get advice on how to lower your risk.

"Even though heat can impact anyone's physical and mental health, children with asthma, pregnant women and people with cardiovascular disease, among other groups, may be more sensitive," the CDC said. "That is why CDC's clinical guidance focuses on some of the people who may be more sensitive to heat and poor air quality. CDC experts in asthma, cardiovascular disease and pregnancy worked together to create the guidance."

More information

The CDC has provided a video overview of the HeatRisk Dashboard.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, April 22, 2024

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