Vast swaths of the continental US will be experiencing prolonged and dangerous heatwaves by the middle of the century, with the heat index in some areas above 100F (38C) for weeks on end, according to a new study .
Almost two-thirds of Americans, who live in mostly southern and central states, will be at risk from the critical temperature increases, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the non-profit First Street Foundation, which used current trends to predict the number of extreme heat days 30 years into the future.
“A changing environment means higher temperatures and changing humidity, creating conditions which exacerbate the effects of extreme heat,” the study reports.
“We’re talking about taking summer, which is already hot, and expanding it for months,” the director of the Houston Healthy Cities program for the Nature Conservancy in Texas, Jaime González, told the Post. “That’s going to cause all sorts of disruptions to everyday life.”
It means as many as 100 million Americans will be living in an “extreme” heat zone that the foundation believes will see the heat index exceed 125F on at least one day of each year, and most probably more.