In June 2021, the “heat dome” that struck the Pacific Northwest sent temperatures in Seattle to an unprecedented 107 degrees Fahrenheit and set 128 all-time high temperature records across the state. The event was partly due to climate change. As the climate continues to warm, these hotter stretches are projected to hit the region with increasing frequency.

UW Heat Report
The free report was released June 20, 2023, in English and Spanish.

Two years after that event — the deadliest weather-related disaster in state history — a collaborative effort led by two University of Washington teams, the Climate Impacts Group and the Center for Health and the Global Environment, or CHanGE, has drawn up recommendations for how people and groups across the state could prevent future heat-related illness and save lives.

“There’s a lot we can do, right now, to save lives in Washington,” said Jason Vogel, interim director of the UW Climate Impacts Group. “This report is a call to action — it outlines the things that we know work. Extreme heat is a complicated governance challenge that requires coordination across levels of government, including many state agencies without a health mandate, and across the private and public sectors.”

“The report highlights the wealth of knowledge we already have about effective strategies,” said Dr. Jeremy Hess, director of CHanGE, who treated patients during the June 2021 event and helped develop a related risk-mapping tool. “We need to commit additional resources and build on early investments to protect the most vulnerable.”

The new report, led by the UW Climate Impacts Group and released June 20 in English and Spanish, points to solutions. There is no single fix, it argues — the best approach is a broad mix of strategies that address both short-term emergency response and long-term risk reduction.

Read more at UW News »