As one of those who made the choice to come to NYC, rather than just being born here, I chose again not to leave despite what should be a rugged next few years. Fortunately, despite its other problems, NYC’s weather problems are few despite climate change. We get stronger storms but — so far — we skip tornadoes (mostly), hurricanes that sit over us, blizzards, non-coastal flooding, and drought. As an island of concrete, despite all our parks, the one hit we do take is from summer heat.
New York City paints rooftops white to help residents stay cool
It’s one of several steps the city is taking to protect vulnerable people from heat waves.
On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they’re outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.
“Extreme heat is actually the deadliest extreme weather event we face in New York City,” says Jainey Bavishi of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Low-income residents are also vulnerable: They may not have air conditioning, and their neighborhoods tend to have more pavement and fewer trees, which makes them hotter.
So the city has taken steps to cool these areas by painting roofs with a coating that reflects sunlight.
“We’ve already painted 10 million square feet of rooftops white in New York City and we’re concentrating those coatings in the most heat-vulnerable areas,” Bavishi says.
The city is also working to ensure residents remain safe during a heat wave. It’s providing air conditioners to tens of thousands of elderly, low-income residents, and it runs a program that pairs volunteers with vulnerable people – “just to make sure that the residents of our communities that are most likely to be impacted by the hot temperatures are being checked in on and staying safe,” Bavishi says.
So from rooftops to living rooms, the city is working to protect residents as temperatures heat up.