Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday September 17th, 2022/Main Topic: California to Start Ranking and Naming Heatwaves

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: California to Start Ranking and Naming Heatwaves

Dear Diary. On Thursday I wasn’t too shocked to see that on NBC Nightly News, Governor Gavin Newsome of California had signed into law a directive such that his state would become the first to begin ranking and perhaps naming heatwaves. Over the last four years that state has been adversely affected by extreme heat, arguably more than any other except perhaps Texas or Arizona. Most know that it’s my view that naming and ranking heatwaves should be done nationally in order to garner more media attention to prevent deaths. I’ve let my readers know how such a system might work with some of my own criteria, used the last couple of years for feedback purposes:

Heat over the long term has killed more people than any other weather phenomena, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Since the science and techniques for warning of storms has gotten much better in the last few decades, these have become less deadly. It’s heat that is a silent killer that remains the biggest threat, especially as we move into a hotter world from climate change.

Here are more details from the Modesto Bee:


‘We cannot afford to delay’: California to become first state to rank heat waves under new law


Two-year-old Parker Beverly cools off with her dog River in the mist of North Natomas Regional Park on Tuesday. Sacramento spray parks would normally close after Labor Day weekend but the city of Sacramento is extending the season until the end of the month due to the heat wave. The two city pools that are currently open for recreational swim are Clunie Pool and the North Natomas Aquatic Complex. Clunie will be open Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the North Natomas Aquatic Complex will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. LEZLIE STERLING lsterling@sacbee.com

California is set to become the first state in the nation to adopt a ranking system meant to emphasize the dangers of sweltering heat waves, under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.

Similar to other natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, the new regulation requires the California Environmental Protection Agency to create a ranking system for extreme heat events by Jan. 1, 2025.

The legislation was among a handful of bills Newsom signed on Friday intended to protect Californians from increasingly hazardous heat waves exacerbated by climate change like the one that has pummeled the Golden State for more than a week.

“This week’s unprecedented heat wave is a painful reminder of the costs and impacts of climate change — and it won’t be the last,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is taking aggressive action to combat the climate crisis and build resilience in our most vulnerable communities, including a comprehensive strategy to protect Californians from extreme heat. “With lives and livelihoods on the line, we cannot afford to delay.”

The other heat-related measures signed by Newsom Friday include:

AB 1643, which creates an advisory committee to oversee a study on the ramifications of extreme heat on California’s workers, businesses and economy

SB 852, which allows cities and counties across the state to create “climate resilience districts” with financing power to invest in programs to address climate impacts

AB 2420, which tasks the state’s Department of Public Health with researching and developing guidance for pregnant women to stay safe outdoors during scorching temperatures

Still, not all of the heat-related measures proposed by lawmakers this legislative session saw the same level of support. Proposals that failed to make it to Newsom’s desk included setting maximum temperature standards and cooling mandates for residential units and creating a chief heat officer role to lead the state’s response to extreme heat.

NAMING HEAT WAVES LIKE HURRICANES On average, over the past three decades, extreme heat has caused more weather-related deaths annually in the U.S. than any other natural calamity, including flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In order to raise awareness and combat the deadly affects that extreme heat can have on communities, some organizations have been advocating for public officials to begin categorizing and naming heat waves much like hurricanes or winter storms are named across the world.

The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center has piloted programs in Spain and Greece to do just that, naming and ranking heat waves from Category 1-3. In July, the organization boasted that Seville, Spain became the first city in the world to categorize and name a heat wave, dubbing it Zoe.

It is unclear at this point how California’s ranking system will be structured and whether heat waves will receive names.

On Friday, the Resilience Center’s director Kathy Baughman McLeod commended the governor for “taking swift action to protect Californians.”

“People do not have to die from heat and this groundbreaking legislation goes a long way toward protecting 40 million Californians with a new, health-based heat warning system,”

McLeod said in a statement. Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, who authored AB 2238, which will create heat wave rankings, thanked the governor in a statement for what she said will “help save the lives of Californians.”

”Unfortunately, each summer we are experiencing extreme heat weather events that are hotter and more devastating than the last,” Rivas said. “… California will now lead the nation with the first advance warning and ranking system for extreme heat waves.”

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who sponsored the bill, said California was “once again leading the world in fighting climate change and its deadly effects.”

This story was originally published September 9, 2022 3:35 PM.



Maggie Angst covers California politics and Gov. Gavin Newsom for The Sacramento Bee. Before joining The Bee’s Capitol Bureau, she worked for the Mercury News and East Bay Times where she covered San Jose City Hall and later wrote enterprise stories on the breaking news team.

Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:

Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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