First Read

Stay cool: Miami-Dade announces ‘heat season’

The South Florida county has the most days of extreme heat in the nation.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava wants Miami-Dade County to keep beating the heat. She recently announced the official launch of the county’s second annual “Heat Season,” which began May 1 and lasts through Oct. 31, running alongside hurricane season. The county is “the first community in the world to establish an official heat season,” Levine Cava said.

“This initiative is critical to help us prepare and protect people, particularly the most vulnerable, from the threat of this ‘silent killer,’ ” she said in a statement. “If we combine all climate-related deaths, heat takes the largest toll, and most of those dying are from our most vulnerable and low-income communities.” 

Miami-Dade County is known for its vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding, but extreme heat causes more deaths and has a greater annual economic impact than any other climate or weather-related disaster. Miami-Dade has the most days of extreme heat in the nation, defined as “a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days.”

Each year, extreme heat kills approximately 34 people in Miami-Dade, county officials say. It also creates economic losses estimated at $10 billion annually primarily from lost worker productivity. Because of climate change and urban development patterns creating longer and hotter summers, heat-related illnesses and the economic burdens associated with heat are on the rise, Levine Cava said. 

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