Southern Utah residents should brace themselves for ‘killer’ heat waves, new study suggests

Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Southern Utah residents may need to brace themselves for more “killer” heat waves.

New research on climate change from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) suggests extreme heat conditions will be much more frequent and likely pose a risk to our health.

On Tuesday, UCS released a report titled “Killer Heat: Climate Change and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days,” suggesting the number of dangerously hot days each year will skyrocket this century if nothing is done to rein in climate change.

By the late 21st century, Washington County would face 85 days per year with a “heat index,” a measure of temperature and humidity, above 90 degrees, 27 days per year with a heat index above 100 degrees, and 10 days a per year with a heat index above 105 degrees if no climate change action is taken.

“It’ll be really uncomfortable living here, especially for old people that are more sensitive, for kids that are sensitive, and for people that have health issues in general,” said Tom Butine, member of Citizens Climate Lobby of St. George.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike said the city’s working to have more solar power, hydropower, and wind power while monitoring air quality affected by carbon emissions.

“It’s hard to argue that there’s not a problem,” Pike said. “I think we’ve got to do it in ways that are meaningful and proven.”

Butine said the issue is much more urgent that most residents in Southern Utah think and is working to pass a resolution with St. George City Council to reduce carbon emissions through testing.

“We need to jump on it really quickly,” added Butine.

According to the study, “gradual climate change” would alter the heat index substantially, with 56 days per year above 90 degrees, 10 days above 100 degrees, and two days above 105 degrees.

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