KGUN 9NewsLocal NewsUniversity of Arizona News

Actions

UArizona to help cities cope with extreme heat

UA in a new Center for Heat Resilient Communities
Posted at 7:15 PM, May 29, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In Arizona we know heat. Now that other cities around the country are having their own longer hotter summers the University of Arizona is sharing what it knows and what its learning to help other cities cope.

KGUN9 viewers told us on Facebook how they survive summer.

Becca said ”Soak your shirt in water before going outside.”

Terri says, We do all the gardening in the morning. AC in the house. The dog has a pool and the horses have misters.”

But you can’t scale up those personal strategies for a city or region.

Now the University of Arizona’s joining ASU and UCLA in a newCenter for Heat Resilient Communities, driven by the fact extreme heat is more than uncomfortable—it’s deadly.

Ladd Keith of UA’s College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture says, “Extreme heat is the number one weather related killer in the United States. And here in Arizona last year, we experienced a 50% increase in our heat deaths. Our heat deaths in Arizona are now almost at the level of mortality related to homicides and to car crashes.”

Keith says for dangerous heat waves, cities can plan for cooling centers.

Planting more trees can shade out more heat and reduce the urban heat island effect..

The City of Tucson uses cool pavement coatings to cut pavement temps between five and seven degrees.

Keith says cities without a history of extreme heat can be less prepared when it comes.

“Historically, temperate climates may have less air conditioning, may be less adapted to occupational heat exposure outside. We're here in Arizona, we still have a lot to do to further adapt to heat, but we may have to take different measures.”

Keith says so far about 30 cities are asking how UA can help them rise to the challenge of the rising heat.

——-
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing craig.smith@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.