By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Climate Central report this month has among the highest Heat Index Scores in the country.

The 7.08 Index Score rates Baltimore City ninth nationally meaning the city may be up seven degrees warmer on average. The report cites building height and impermeable surface as critical components.

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“It’s not surprising. It’s also an old city, right? So, a lot of these old buildings were not built to live in the climate we have now, right?” Dr. Elizabeth Dahl of Loyola University Maryland said. “[Tall buildings] may be shading the surface somewhat, but the [cut] energy they’re absorbing from the sun is giving off heat to the surrounding spaces.”

An investigative report from 2019 showed McElderry Park was the hottest neighborhood in Baltimore City.

“It’s too hot to be out here, for real. Even for kids. It’s 80-something degrees at night. That’s serious,” Warren Hawkins said Tuesday in McElderry Park. ‘Look, there ain’t no trees. It’s a wide-open area. Nothing but sun.”

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Dr. Dahl, who tracks Baltimore air quality in real-time, said the city needs to increase its trees to lower its Heat Index Score.

“Get more street trees and also preserving the spaces we have,” Dr. Dahl said. “Making streets shady, which would make it easier for people to walk from place to place.”

Research shows coating your roof white can reduce the heat island effect by not trapping that solar radiation.

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This story was originally published on July 22, 2021. 

Paul Gessler