FOX31 Denver

Colorado may join extreme heat belt by 2053

DENVER (KDVR) — A recent study is sounding the alarm for an extreme heat belt by 2053. 

An increase in both the intensity and frequency of the hottest days looks very likely in the next 30 years.  

A study from The First Street Foundation examined the impact of extreme temperatures from climate change that will affect the country by 2053.  

They are forecasting that excessive heat will grow all the way from Texas through Chicago, Illinois from all the emissions and climate change.

That means over 107 million people could face heat index temperatures above 125 degrees, hence the name “extreme heat belt”.  

The heat index represents what a temperature feels like to the human body when humidity and air temperature are combined, commonly referred to as the “feels like” temperature. 

These temperatures affect everything from public health causing more heat strokes, to issues with infrastructure and road buckling. Not to mention negative impacts on agriculture, affecting farmers their crops. 

These conditions are more commonly found in California’s Death Valley or parts of the Middle East but do not cover the country’s heartland.  

One main reason this extreme heat belt goes so far north is that there are no cooling effects, like water in coastal cities, so this heat goes straight through the middle.

This heat belt isn’t expected to impact Colorado directly or as severely as other states but we will still feel impacts.  

“We also are expected to experience more frequent hot nighttime temperatures which can be really important, particularly in a place like Colorado where nighttime cool temperatures often offer a relief from extreme heat events”, said Nels Bjarke, Ph.D. Student at CU Boulder. 

Here in Denver, we are already feeling some of that with triple digits, broken records, and the third hottest summer on record with an average temperature of 74.8 degrees.

The best thing you can do is to be informed, support local efforts and resources and take action now. You can see the study’s methods and full release here.