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Extreme Heat

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Extreme heat is a leading cause of death among hazardous weather events in the United States, according to the National Weather Service (leaves DEC's website). Extreme heat is severely affecting the health and well-being of New Yorkers across the state. Impacts from extreme heat are likely to become more severe with rising temperatures and as heat waves become more intense, more frequent, and longer due to climate change.

Climate change is already increasing the severity, duration and frequency of extreme heat events in New York State. By 2050, New York is projected to experience more days above 90°F (read the 2014 ClimAid report (PDF) (leaves DEC's website) for projections). The number of heat waves (periods of three or more consecutive days above 90°F) per year is also expected to rise significantly. Between 2000 and 2004, New York experienced an average of seven heat waves every ten years. By the 2050s this rate could increase to up to eight heat waves per year for some regions of the state.

Extreme heat impacts occur unevenly across New York's communities and are worsened by socio-economic, environmental, age- and health-related conditions, and other factors that increase risks, especially to vulnerable groups. People of color, Indigenous People, unhoused people and people living in institutional settings, older adults, infants and children, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable. Race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, and lack in language proficiency in particular increase vulnerability.

Extreme heat is affecting New Yorkers

Links below leave DEC's website.

Learn about extreme heat impacts on health through the NYS Department of Health (DOH)'s heat story map.

Explore county-specific impacts through DOH's heat vulnerability index maps.

Learn how to stay safe during periods of extreme heat.

NY State Action on Extreme Heat

DEC is developing maps to identify urban heat islands (UHI) in
Disadvantaged Communities and developing recommendations for
addressing the impacts of the UHI effect on disadvantaged and
heat-vulnerable communities. A state heat annex and
extreme heat adaptation plan will also be developed by 2024.
Additional tools and resources will become available to support
community level actions to address extreme heat.

Governor Hochul has prioritized addressing current and future impacts of extreme heat for the state and has directed DEC and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to coordinate the State's planning and response efforts.

New York State prioritizes equity in health, well-being and quality of life for all New Yorkers across all extreme heat planning initiatives.

DEC and NYSERDA have convened the Extreme Heat Action Plan Work Group (EHAPWG). This group is led by a steering committee of DEC (Co-Chair), NYSERDA (Co-Chair), DOH, and NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) staff, and brings together more than 20 State agencies and authorities to comprehensively coordinate action and bring extreme heat solutions to New Yorkers and their communities.

New York's extreme heat action planning includes several initiatives to keep residents safe during extreme heat events, prepare New York's diverse communities for future impacts of climate change, and leverage existing and new initiatives to enhance resilience, build local capacities, and reduce inequities.

As a first step, after its convening in the spring of 2022, the EHAPWG developed a set of immediate actions that the State could take with existing resources to address the most pressing needs in preparing for extreme heat. These actions were released in July 2022 as Interim Recommendations (PDF), and the EHAPWG began implementing the actions.

Over the next year, DEC and NYSERDA will lead the EHAPWG in completing major planning initiatives, while continuing to implement interim recommendations:

Deliverables Lead Agencies Target Completion
Develop and release a hazard-specific annex ("heat annex") to the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (leaves DEC website) to coordinate emergency preparedness, response and recovery. DHSES June 2023
Heat adaptation plan with specific actions the State will take to build resilience and adapt to extreme heat, build local capacities, and support local communities in taking action. DEC
January 2024
Urban heat island and extreme heat exposure maps to help target solutions to particularly exposed and disproportionately vulnerable communities. DEC Spring 2024

Participate in the Extreme Heat Action Planning Process

In developing actions to address extreme heat, the Extreme
Heat Action Plan Group is working closely with impacted
local stakeholders to ensure that solutions are equitable,
meaningful, and effectively address local needs.

The Extreme Heat Action Plan Work Group seeks to develop the State's plan for action in close collaboration with community leaders and representatives of impacted communities. The goal is to enable broad participation across communities that are impacted by extreme heat. The planning process includes a variety of opportunities to participate, with different opportunities open to community organizations, local governments, subject matter experts, and other stakeholder groups.

The process will also include opportunities for the public to learn and provide input through information events and comment periods during the planning process.

Interested stakeholders currently have their choice of four ways to help develop the plan, depending on their availability, interest, and eligibility:

  1. Co-Develop the Plan on an Action Forum - Be in the room, shaping the plan
    We are convening forums for State agency experts, scientists, local government representatives, and community leaders to work together on developing the extreme heat action plan. The forums will meet monthly from winter 2022 through summer 2023 in workshop-style virtual gatherings.
    Commitment: About five hours per month. Participants may be eligible for compensation by NYSERDA.

  2. Serve on the Community Advisory Panel - Provide input at key points during plan development
    We are convening a community advisory panel to review draft sections of the plan as sections are developed throughout the planning process. The panel will convene virtually four times in spring and summer 2023.
    Commitment: Review materials and participate in four, approximately 3-hour meetings.

  3. Provide Written Comments - Share input during the public comment period
    The public will be invited to provide written comments on drats of the plan in 2023.
    Public comment periods will be announces online and via email at least one month in advance.
    Commitment: Determined by interest and level of detail provided.

  4. Share Feedback at Public Input Session - Discuss feedback in an open discussion format.
    Public input sessions will be held in spring and summer 2023. Session will be open to the public and provide an opportunity to review and give feedback on key plan components.
    Public input sessions will be announced online and via email at least one month in advance.
    Commitment: Participate in a 2-hour session.

General inquiries about participating in the New York's extreme heat action planning processes can be e-mailed to

Extreme Heat Action Plan - Webinar Series

DEC, NYSERDA, and the EHAPWG are hosting a webinar series on the ways extreme heat is impacting New York State, and how the State is helping communities to prepare for current and future heat impacts. This webinar series is a resource to help communities better understand the impacts of extreme heat, learn about solutions for adapting and promoting partnerships to address extreme heat in New York State.

Please register for each individual webinar using the registration links below. Webinars are recorded and posted below.

Webinar Schedule

Showcasing Local Solutions and Partnerships
This webinar will showcase local solutions from different communities across New York State and the people behind those solutions. The webinar will illuminate tangible and positive change advanced by partnerships among community organizations, local governments, and the State.

Expert Panel: TBA
Moderator: TBA

Date: June 8, 2023
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Register for the webinar:

Preparing for Summer 2023: What Individuals and Local Governments Can Do During a Heat Wave
This webinar will highlight concrete approaches for staying cool and safe during heat waves. The presentations will describe individual measures to cool one's home; the various ways in which local governments, emergency response coordinators and community groups can help their communities be safe during extreme heat events; and available resources the State provides to support local preparedness and adaptation.

Expert Panel: TBA
Moderator: TBA

Date: June 22, 2023
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Register for the webinar:

Building Capacity: Extreme Heat Action Tools and Resources

Resources are available to help local communities, organizations, and individuals better understand, anticipate, and plan for extreme heat. The list below will be regularly updated as new resources become available.

Extreme Heat Action Tools and Resources

Understanding Impacts - these resources can help with understanding how extreme heat is impacting local communities and how impacts will change as climate change progresses.

Links below leave DEC's website.

Extreme Heat Action Plan Webinar Series Recordings

Extreme Heat and the Built Environment (leaves DEC's website) - April 27, 2023

Extreme Heat, Health and Policy: Strategies Across New York's Many Landscapes (leaves DEC's website) - May 18, 2023

Best Practices and Ideas for Local Action - Resources will become available soon.

Funding Local Action - Resources will become available soon.

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