HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu had a sweltering 2019.
In fact, it was the island’s hottest year on record, NOAA has determined.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell made the announcement Wednesday in conjunction with the release of a new “community heat assessment” aimed at identifying the hottest spots in neighborhoods.
“Rising temperatures are no longer a projection for later this decade or later this century, our island is hotter here and now,” Caldwell said.
“The fact that 2019 was the hottest year ever is a crystal clear reminder of the challenges we must overcome, and this community heat assessment provides critical information about how we can protect ourselves.”
Officials noted that hotter temperatures aren’t just uncomfortable, they can prove a public health risk.
“From the emergency management perspective, extreme heat is the deadliest natural hazard in the U.S.,” said city Emergency Management Director Hiro Toiya. “It kills more people in the United States than any other natural hazard.”
“We had an awful lot of responses to Diamond Head trail. People walking up the stairs at Diamond head during the mid portion of the day, getting heat exhaustion,” said Jim Howe, director of the city’s Emergency Services, which includes paramedics and EMT’s.
Last year, Hawaii saw 273 broken or tied temperature records.
The hottest day of the year for Honolulu: Aug. 31, when the mercury hit 95 degrees.
That same day, the heat index ― or “feels like” temperature ― soared to 105 degrees at Magic Island.
“We have to ask ourselves what does the future look like, and how do we protect ourselves from this increasingly hot future, now that we know that 2019 was the hottest on record?” said Josh Stanbro, the city’s chief resilience officer.
To see the community heat assessment, click here.