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Extreme Heat Wave Threatens Vulnerable Communities In The West

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Extreme heat in westExtreme temperatures like the ones blistering the American West this week aren’t just annoying, they’re deadly.

The record-breaking temperatures this week are a weather emergency, scientists and health care experts say, with heat responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than all other natural disasters combined. With more frequent and intense heat waves likely because of climate change and the worst drought in modern history, they say communities must better protect the vulnerable, like homeless people and those who live in ethnically and racially diverse low-income neighborhoods.

“This heat has an important effect on people and their health,” said Dr. Suganya Karuppana, chief medical director at the Valle del Sol community health clinics in Arizona.

People — along with plants and animals — need cooler temperatures at night to recover from the stress of high heat, scientists and doctors said. But with overnight temperatures in the 90s, that’s not happening.


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