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Heat.Gov – A Portal to Combat the Scourges of Heat Wave – Geospatial World

On July 26th, the Biden Administration through the interagency National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) launched Heat.gov, a new website which includes interactive maps, data and other information to assist the communities and concerned authorities prepare for heat waves, understand the health risks, and identify who and also where the most vulnerable are.
Heat.gov is a collaboration of NIHHIS’ federal government partners, including NOAA, CDC, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 
NOAA’s Climate Program Office and National Weather Service, in partnership with the CDC, founded NIHHIS whose vision is to work towards a nation free from heat-related illness and death.
The portal is hosted on Esri’s cloud-based geospatial platform, which allows easy access to a range of features, such as localized heat information, links to heat tools across the federal government, and an interactive map of the NOAA and NIHHIS urban heat island mapping campaigns.
This portal has been launched at the right time as extreme heatwaves are sweeping across the U.S. unleashing their destructive impacts all around. Extreme heat alert warnings keep flashing on the phones across the country.
Several U.S. cities are experiencing “urban heat island” syndrome leading to dangerous mid-afternoon temperatures that are 15°F to 20°F warmer than surrounding, vegetated areas. The extreme heat, exacerbated by human-caused climate change, shows little sign of relenting.

The information provided by this new website is aimed at various actual applications for decisions like temperature safety checks for road workers, cultivation decisions for farmers or even parents planning outdoor versus indoor activities for their children. Authorities could use the information from this portal to plan for advance protection measures for people at high risk by setting up cooling centers and providing water and similar actions.
Unlike the visually obvious environmental deterrents like a typhoon or a tornado, heat conditions can be ignored by many as it’s a silent invader and thus fall prey to its deadly effects. Social indents can lead to heat-related illness and death, particularly in elderly populations, the poor, outdoor workers, and it’s also seen that these impacts are not evenly distributed across populations.
In U.S. extreme heat mortality disproportionately affects Native American and Black communities, as well as those living in the urban core or very rural neighborhoods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Multiple areas of the economic sector experience reduced worker productivity during heatwaves, especially agriculture and construction. Ecological impacts of Heatwaves, without concomitant increases in precipitation, can lead to water shortages and increased stress for plants with an overall drying-out of the landscape. 
Raising awareness and creating such central heat-data assimilation portals, maps and community campaigns pave the way for appropriate actions to be planned and implemented.
We may recollect that David J. Hayes, Special Assistant to the US President for Climate Policy, recently revealed at Esri User Conference 2022 held in San Diego (July 11-15),that the US government is working on building a climate resilience portal that seeks to bring together all valuable information on climate change and its impacts under one umbrella.
Heat.gov aligns well with this plan of a larger climate resilience portal being worked on.
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