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New report outlines impact, dangers of extreme heat waves

New report outlines impact, dangers of extreme heat waves
New report outlines impact, dangers of extreme heat waves 02:41

LIVERMORE -- The heat wave hitting the Bay Area early this week comes along with a new forecast on how hot days might stack up in a changing climate.

A newly released report highlights the kind of impact increasing temperatures will have at a property level, and how the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme heat waves will change over the next 30 years from a changing climate. 

The report predicts more heat waves with potentially serious consequences for many parts of the country.

"Tomorrow it's going to be hotter," said Dave Taulton of Livermore. "104° 105°. So it's going to be even hotter tomorrow. So I'm gonna come earlier in the morning, get it before it gets too hot."

It was already 95 when Taulton came to fill up on recycled water. The city re-launched this drought measure today, last deployed in 2016. Taluton knows more dry, hot days are ahead. 

"It's phenomenal, the increase in temperature over the last, say, 10 years," Taulton said. "It's going up and up and up. I don't see any relief in sight."

The report published by the First Street Foundation includes a high-level overview of the methodology behind the foundation's Extreme Heat Model, a summary of heat risk across the nation, and a series of state pages which summarize and provide insight into new findings about extreme heat risk.

"So, for places like Livermore, what we actually see is the seven hottest days expected in a given year are at 97° or hotter," explained First Street Foundation founder and CEO Matthew Eby.

The report issued by Eby and his foundation looks at what temperature might look like by 2053.

"When we look into the future, that actually becomes 14 days," he said of the outlook for Livermore. "So two weeks at a temperature where the lowest temperature you will see is 97 degrees."

In some spots, the number of days with extreme heat might double. But then there's what Eby calls the country's developing "heat belt," where temperature could occasionally soar towards 120 degrees..  

"These are temperatures that do wild things, like buckle train tracks, or don't let airplanes takeoff, or have airplanes actually sinking into the tarmac because it's just so hot," Eby said. "So things that our infrastructure is just not equipped to handle."

Some Bay Area officials say there is already some contingency planning for such extreme heat. Alameda County's Office of Emergency Services says heat is a growing part of its long-range disaster planning, just like earthquakes and fires.

"We have generators that are capable of being plugged into, empowering facilities that need them," said Alameda County Sheriff's Lieutenant Ray Kelly. "For example, long-term care facilities that might have extreme heat concerns, or maybe their power goes out."

Residents say they can feel it too, more hot days, more often.

"It's going to be a warm day tomorrow," Taulton said. "Not that it's not warm today."

With more hot days also comes a greater chance of back-to-back hot days . It's those consecutive days of extreme heat that cause real problems for our infrastructure and our bodies. 

You can download the report from the First Street Foundation website (note: requires name and email).

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