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Heat Waves

  • By: Daniel J. Klenow
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Heat waves, also referred to as extreme heat events (EHEs), are defined as weather that exceeds the normal summertime temperature and/or humidity for that specific time of the season. Accordingly, there is no absolute temperature level that serves as a benchmark for labeling an EHE. In addition, the specific temperature that defines an EHE may change over the summer season. Early summer season EHEs are typically more threatening, as individuals have not had time to physically adapt to warmer temperatures, as is the case during summer.

In an attempt to provide guidelines for EHEs, the Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service has developed a four-category heat index/heat disorders system that applies to those in ...

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