We created scorching ‘heat islands’ in East Coast cities. Now they’re becoming unlivable

By Joyce Chu, Eduardo Cuevas and Ricardo Kaulessar. USA TODAY NETWORK.

From left, Candida Rodriguez, with Groundwork Hudson Valley, Brianna Rodriguez, a recent Yonkers High graduate, and Brigitte Griswold, Groundwork Hudson Valley’s Executive Director, talk about the heat in the area of Getty Square in Yonkers, NY, on July 1, 2022. Photo by Frank Becerra Jr., The Journal News.

Heat death in East Coast cities 

USA Today looked at heat islands during an extensive USA TODAY Network reporting project called “Perilous Course,” a collaborative examination of how people up and down the East Coast are grappling with the climate crisis. Journalists from more than 35 newsrooms from New Hampshire to Florida are speaking with regular people about real-life impacts, digging into the science and investigating government response, or lack of it.

Absorbing the history of heat 

Brianna Rodriguez, a former Groundwork Hudson Valley Green Team member, resident of Yonkers, and recent Yonkers High graduate shared her story on how as a young child, she didn’t play on the swings at her Nodine Hill elementary school on the hottest days, though they were her favorite part of the playground. Nodine Hill is a neighborhood in Yonkers affected extreme heat with several streets named for trees, but few trees actually line the sidewalks.

Rodriguez worked with Groundwork Hudson Valley’s Green Team taking temperature readings in the past. One summer day in 2021, she took her handheld FLIR thermal camera and pointed the bullseye at School 23’s playground mat. Down on that surface, it was 127 degrees.

This is an excerpt from a national article published by USA Today.

You can read the PDF here.