U.S. Could See More 'Dangerously Hot' Days In Coming Decades

Bernie Tafoya
July 17, 2019 - 12:38 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The temperature and humidity will combine the next few days to make it feel hotter than 100 degrees in the Chicago area this week and climate scientists said the Midwest faces several times that many hot days in the coming years.

According to climate scientist Dr. Rachel Licker, Illinois gets, on average, seven days a year when the real-feel temperature is over 100 degrees.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said if little is done to alleviate greenhouse gases, in the next 30 years, there could be 33 days a year like that in Illinois.

Dr. Rachel Licker said that under a "no-action scenario” by the end of the century, "the state of Illinois could see about 69 days per year with a heat index above 100 degrees Fahrenheit."

Besides being dangerously hot for people for more days during the year, Dr. Licker warns conditions could also harm agriculture in Illinois.

She said people who live in cities like Chicago could feel even hotter temperatures. 

"Cities, because all of the pavement absorbs heat during the day and then re-radiate that heat out during the night in a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect."

Clearly, she points out, the need for air conditioning would rise.

"Power grid systems there in Illinois might not necessarily be able to handle that kind of load," she said.

Under the low-action and no-action scenarios, Dr. Licker said states in the southeastern portion of the country would fare even worse.