Miami-Dade County recently released its first extreme heat action plan, which Mayor Daniella Levine Cava described as “a roadmap for protecting our residents, visitors, and economy.”
In 2020, Miami experienced 31 consecutive days where the Heat Index reached at least 100°F (~38°C). The 6th National Climate Risk Assessment report on heat estimates that Miami-Dade County should expect about 50 days with a heat index at or above 100 degrees in 2023, which will rise to 91 days with a heat index of 100 degrees or more by the year 2053. The report states that the county is getting hotter not only due to global climate change, but also because of local development resulting in a loss of vegetation and tree canopy, increases in impervious and darker surfaces, and excess heat from buildings and vehicles
The mission of the Extreme Heat Action Plan is to reduce the health and economic impacts of increasing extreme heat and create a baseline for further research and the formation of new partnerships regarding this issue. The plan is built upon three main goals and 19 actions:
- Inform, prepare and protect people by: building on the success of the heat season campaign; enhancing messaging and protocols; working with employers of outdoor workers; seeking worker protections within the government system; working with healthcare practitioners; and supporting urban heat research groups.
- Cool our homes and emergency facilities by: seeking increased support for efficiency and cooling upgrades; advocating for heat safe and affordable housing policies; improving the coordination of and expanding the outreach on energy efficiency; ensuring compliance with the assisted living/nursing home generator rule; and incorporating extreme heat in the countywide resilience hub plan.
- Cool our neighborhoods by: creating a bold tree plan; cooling commutes; cooling schools; expanding access to water and shade; planting and protecting trees on county land; piloting and scaling cool pavements; and ramping up engagement and citizen science.