Volunteers map hottest spots in Houston on 'Heat Day'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It may not be a cause for celebration to some, but for several volunteers around Houston, they were happy to recognize "Heat Day."

No, this is not an official holiday, but a project aimed at scientifically mapping out some of the hottest spots across the city.

"We should care even though we know it's hot every summer," said Meredith Jennings, a post-doctoral research scientist with Houston Advanced Research Center. "The science tells us that it's going to get even hotter."

On Friday, volunteers drove across 32 different mapped out areas to collect important data on the various temperatures across the city.

"The volunteers are going out with temperature and humidity sensors that have a GPS unit attached to a rod on the window of their car," Jennings said.

The time slots are for one hour and will happen throughout the day.

The data should give more clarity into how "heat islands" are impacting temperatures in different areas.

"Due to all of the concrete and heat coming off of the buildings, those areas tend to be hotter than others," Jennings said.

The entire project is a collaboration between the Houston Harris Heat Action Team, Houston Advanced Research Center, the City of Houston, and Harris County Public Health and in partnership with Lowe's and Shell.

It will take six to eight weeks to compile the results into an interactive heat map that will be released to the public.

The results will be used to create climate policies as well as pinpoint areas across the city that would benefit from more trees and green space.

"We have the opportunity now to better understand the distribution of heat in the city so we can better prepare and adapt to better withstand warmer temperatures in the future," Jennings said.

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