City of Chicago And Community Partners Announce Heat Watch 2023 Activation Day

via City of Chicago Department of Public Health

In collaboration with community partners, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Office of Climate and Environmental Equity (OCEE) are launching the activation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2023 Heat Watch Campaign.

This community heat-mapping project brings together local volunteers, public and private organizations, universities, and non-profit organizations to co-produce high-resolution heat maps and generate creative and collaborative solutions for extreme heat in Chicago. With the help of NOAA and CAPA Strategies that provide support, sensor technology, analysis, and modeling, CDPH trained and mobilized paid resident scientists to drive with specially designed heat sensors on their cars. This information will be analyzed and used to give Chicago residents and government decision-makers more accurate data to improve Chicago’s heat safety strategies.

“Heat is the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States. But heat impacts neighborhoods and individuals differently, based on risk factors and protective factors at both the neighborhood and person level. Our goal is to combat extreme heat, especially among those most vulnerable,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., MPH.

“Today is just a snapshot of data, to make heat and its disproportionate impacts visible, and is a way to open the door for conversations about how the City and its partners can more equitably support Chicagoans,” said CDPH Director of Environmental Innovation Raed Mansour.

During an extreme heat event, neighborhoods may experience the heat differently. To more visibly map the differences in heat across the City, 29 routes have been co-developed across all 77 community areas with partner and public input. Volunteers will drive at least one of three shifts over the course of the day: morning, midday and evening.

Factors like humidity, tree coverage, air flow, heavy traffic, roads, industrial areas, parking lots, and the density of buildings and concrete all contribute to how intense the heat feels, creating what is known as an urban heat island effect.

“The City remains committed to addressing the impacts of extreme heat,” said Chicago Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar. “Our hope is that through Heat Watch 2023, we will build on existing programs and policies to better support all Chicago residents, but we couldn’t do this without their input and their willingness to participate.”

Chicago residents are invited to share their own heat experiences on social media using #coolchi and to continue staying engaged throughout the campaign journey, which will lead to programs, policies, and strategies to lead to a healthier, safer, and more resilient Chicago. To stay informed on the campaign, visit