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HOUSTON (CW39) – The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon in which traditional big city features such as parking lots, big buildings, and major roadways attract the sun’s rays, making some places, like Houston, several degrees hotter than surrounding areas.  

This disproportionately exposes urban residents to dangerous conditions and additional utility costs. Its effects also low-income residents the most. 

A study by CAPA Strategies was conducted with 84 volunteers on August 7th of last year. Members of the experiment got into their cars and traveled 32 different routes throughout the Greater Houston area collecting over two hundred thousand measurements to create these maps showcasing the hot spots and cool spots in town.  

During the afternoon readings temperatures varied as much as 17.1 degrees across Harris County. A temperature of over 103 degrees was recorded in the Galleria Area, while a temperature of 86 was simultaneously recorded in Channelview.  

So, what factors go into your risk of being in the hottest part of town? 

Tree coverage and vegetation will play a big role in keeping things on the cooler side. Paved surfaces, such as vast parking lots, major freeways, and urban development aid in a temperature increase… meaning higher electric bills and a higher risk for heat related illnesses. 

So, say you live in one of the hottest areas of town. What do you do? 

Try to increase the shade around your home.

Be sure all windows and doors are sealed properly to keep the cool air in.

In the case we enter a heat wave… Frequently check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.