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Aerial view of the Texas Gulf Coast
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Six out of the 10 most 'heat vulnerable' counties in the US are in Texas

Erika Mailman
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Erika Mailman

You’re not imagining it. Temperatures really are rising, and summers are getting hotter. So enjoy this summer—it’s the coolest one we’ll see for the rest of our lives, says Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, as reported by KTLA.

A new federal website called simply is trying to help states prepare for climate change with heat maps and forecasts for coming years.

According to this website, the top 10 counties most vulnerable overall to heat impacts are in the South or Southwest (in states from New Mexico and Louisiana to Arkansas and Texas), except for one county in southern California: Imperial County. Sadly, that county is also the second poorest in the state, which means the daunting costs of air conditioning or other methods to combat heat will be harder to pay for—and for unhoused communities, it will be hardest of all. The overall heat impact score takes into account socioeconomic status, household composition and disability, minority status and language, and housing and transportation.

One thought for mulling over, in case relocation is on your mind: there are some areas of the nation that will be largely impervious to rising heat in the future. They include parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, both Dakotas and West Coast areas that sit along the Pacific Ocean.

Here are the top ten most overall vulnerable counties:

1. Brooks County, TX

2. Dimmit County, TX

3. Duval County, TX

4. Luna County, NM

5. Zavala County, TX

6. Presidio County, TX

7. Imperial County, CA

8. Evangeline Parish, LA

9. Culbertson County, TX

10. Chicot County, AK

For a breakdown by theme, the most vulnerable county according to socioeconomic status as well as minority status and language was Starr County, TX. The most vulnerable due to household composition and disability was Motley County, TX, while most vulnerable because of housing and transportation was Claiborne County, Mississippi.

Kind of makes you wish we could hold large companies’ feet to the (ever increasing) flame, doesn’t it?

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