Launch of the UNMC “Urban Heat Island” study to explain why the northern and southern regions of Omaha are hotter

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Redlining is the now illegal practice of defining predominantly black and brown areas as unsuitable for investment, which means people in areas based on race have been denied loans.

This has real impacts on the heat index in North and South Omaha.

“It’s going to be 105. Imagine somewhere in the city, it’s 110,” said Abdoulaziz Abdoulaye, the study coordinator.

Abdoulaye holds a doctorate. Public health student at UNMC. On Saturday, he and volunteers walked the streets of Omaha with heat-measuring sensors to kick off the mapping project that is also taking place nationwide.

Data from other studies show that locations that have been highlighted can be 20 degrees warmer than nearby un-highlighted areas. These are called “urban heat islands”.

“You have more homes that have different types of paint that might not be adaptive, that won’t reflect heat.” “They don’t have enough parks. They don’t have enough water bodies in this part of town,” Abdoulaye said.

The data will be used by the Omaha City Planning Department.

“It would help inform the climate action plan and resilience plan that Omaha will be working on next year,” said Lisa Smith, Omaha City Planner. “That could mean more cooling stations, tree canopies, and even individual attention to homes that need an energy-efficient update,” she said.

One of the volunteers who took three shifts on Saturday was Tricia, a 3rd grade teacher in North Omaha. She noticed that the temperature read in her car at school was higher than where she lives in another neighborhood.

“The parking lot is where part of the game takes place because the actual playing field is very small where there is grass.” “So the reality is it’s a lot hotter where they play the majority of the time. And that’s a concern,” Tricia Gushard said.

This study is part of a larger vision to change the landscape of North and South Omaha.

“Organizations such as Simple Foundation, various other organizations. We are on the ground working with people and providing services. “I think the support factor of having the data and the policy will help it move and have a better impact, much faster and much faster,” said Osuman Issaka, CEO of The Simple Foundation, the meeting place of the study. Saturday.

“Research is the beginning. The data follows. And then an action plan,” Issaka said.

Saturday’s study was paired with an educational fair at The Simple Foundation to get kids excited about science and learning how to stay safe in the heat.

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