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How 'famously hot' are we really? Volunteers needed for local Urban Heat Index mapping initiative

The City of Columbia and Richland County are participating in a national initiative to understand and reduce risks related to high temperatures.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — It's hot. It's 'famously' South Carolina hot. But how hot is it really, and what does the heat mean for us as far as our health and quality of life?

If you're a resident of the City of Columbia and Richland County, you can help answer that question. The city and county have been selected to participate in a national and international Urban Heat Island mapping initiative aimed at better understanding how heat or high temperatures can affect every aspect of daily life. The National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) is partnering with Climate Adaption Planning and Analytics (CAPA) Strategies to provide funding for the heat mapping campaign.

Research gathered from localized maps can help community leaders identify where they can take action to improve air and water quality, enhance livability, and protect neighborhoods from extreme heat risks. 

RELATED: Understanding the Columbia Urban Heat Island

In order to collect the data, volunteers will be needed to cover approximately 160 square miles of urban and urbanizing Columbia and Richland County. Volunteers will be asked to mount specially designed sensors on their personal vehicles and drive pre-planned routes three times on an appointed day -- in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The sensors will record temperature, humidity, and their precise location every second during that route.

When the data collection effort is completed, a publicly available report and digital map showing variations in temperature and humidity for the region can be used as a tool to plan action to reduce heat risks, encourage economic development, and improve the quality of life.

If you would like to volunteer, you can learn more and sign up to be notified once details have been solidified by visiting the project's website at cpac.columbiasc.gov/urban-heat-island-mapping-initiative.

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