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Hell’s Kitchen is growing

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Tomás Del Coro (Wikipedia Commons)

The sun, photographed from North Las Vegas

Nevada is among the states being hit hardest by an increase in the number of extreme-heat days, according to the recently released results of a Natural Resources Defense Council study. And it’s not going to get any better. By 2100, major U.S. metropolitan areas are expected to experience six times as many dangerously hot summer days as they did, on average, between 1975 and 2010.

“Extreme heat isn’t just an inconvenience — it can kill,” NRDC scientist Kim Knowlton said in a statement. Scorching temperatures send 65,000 people to the hospital and kill another 1,300, on average, in cities across the U.S.

To define “extreme-heat days,” the council’s analysts looked at weather data from June, July, and August in the years 2007 through 2016. Then they calculated how many days in that decade were in the 90th percentile of average temperature (based on 1961-1990 weather monitoring station data).

The results aren’t good for Nevada, which is among the three hardest-hit areas, along with the District of Columbia and Hawaii. In all three, more than 75 percent of the population will face at least nine more days of extreme heat annually than expected. A county-level map shows that Clark County is already experiencing 9-14 additional days of extreme heat, compared with historical averages. (A related map shows how climate change is affecting public health.)

If you’re wondering what to do with this information, the local Sierra Club chapter is offering some answers. It’s hosting a panel featuring a wilderness firefighter, sociology professor, and weather reporter tonight, at 6 p.m. They’ll discuss how Nevadans can respond to extreme weather. For information on that, contact eymhy.corpus@sierraclub.org.

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