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Why Kentucky could feel more like Death Valley over the next 30 years

Over the next 30 years Louisville is likely to see 21 days with a heat index over 105 degrees.
Ryan Van Velzer | WFPL News
Over the next 30 years Louisville is likely to see 21 days with a heat index over 105 degrees.

If you’ve spent this summer feeling like it’s really getting extra hot out here, it is not in your mind.

A new report from the First Street Foundation describes a major warming region of the U.S. as an extreme heat belt — and Kentucky is among the states included. On this week's edition of "Science Behind the Forecast," WAVE 3 meteorologist Tawana Andrew explains what and where the extreme heat belt is.

"It's an area from Texas to Louisiana and then stretching all the way north towards the great lakes, that means through Illinois through Indiana through Wisconsin, could see heat indices above 125 degrees by 2053," Andrew said. "These kinds of numbers are typically only seen in Death Valley or even in the Middle East consistently."

A heat index of 125 degrees sounds bad enough, but Andrew says the even the heat index doesn't always describe the extent of how hot it feels.

"Here's the thing, the heat index is only devised for shady conditions and for light winds," she said. "You factor in full sunshine, the heat index can increase by up to 15 degrees."

Listen below to hear more from Andrew about how this will impact people like us living in this region.


Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.

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