Heat waves could soon have names

There’s a growing effort to name and categorize heat waves the way we do hurricanes — to call attention to their significance, alert people to dangerous temperatures and prod public officials into action.

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Why it matters: Heat waves are the deadliest type of weather emergency in the U.S. They’re bigger killers than floods, tornadoes or hurricanes — and they’re growing in frequency and intensity due to global warming.

Excessive heat — which hits low-income communities the hardest — doesn’t lend itself to dramatic TV coverage, so people sometimes underestimate the risk.

Proponents of a more formal public warning system say it could save lives and trigger measures like opening community cooling stations and asking people to stay indoors.

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