Ministry of Health launches risk report initiative to deal with extreme temperatures

The program starts on Wednesday June 1 and will remain active until September 30.

Wednesday 1st June 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: press release – GVA Sanitat

The Generalitat Valenciana’s Ministry of Health has launched a risk report initiative to deal with potential health problems due to extreme temperatures over the summer, the main objective being to reduce the impact associated with high temperatures and possible heat waves during the summer season in the Comunidad Valenciana. The initiative will remain active until September 30th 2022 or until the weather conditions allow its modification.

Since the summer of 2004, this initiative includes the measures to monitor and reduce the health effects associated with high temperatures according to the level or risk foreseen throughout the territory of the Comunidad Valenciana, with the necessary specifications in each health department in the autonomous region.

A meteorological surveillance system has been specifically developed for the Comunidad Valenciana and currently extreme heat forecast alerts are issued by the General Directorate for Public Health and Addictions which also provides daily updates which can be consulted here.

The initiative allows the Ministry of Health to monitor the weather situation to predict risk situations due to excess temperatures as well as to establish a system for coordination and exchange of information between the various institutions involved.

Likewise, through the public health centres, extreme heat risk alerts are distributed to the institutional and territorial network of health departments and information is provided to the population on declared alert levels and prevention measures, especially groups at higher risk (elderly people, children or people with a chronic disease), as well as social and health professionals.

The initiative also makes it possible to monitor and assess the impact of intense heat on the health of the population.

Risk Levels and Alert Activation

Risk maps are prepared daily with temperature forecasts for all the municipalities of the Comunidad Valenciana. There are 542 municipalities and 542 predictions made by satellites that indicate heat waves to health with the expected temperature levels. These levels are shown on the maps with four colours and each colour is associated with the risk level: normal level (green), moderate (yellow), high (orange) and extreme (red). These are linked to a series of actions.

In order to issue a specific alert, the daily forecasts for three consecutive days should have two days with the same high level of risk: when they are orange or red, then the appropriate risk warning is issued.

In addition to this established protocol, a specific forecast will also be issued for night temperatures, generating a risk of “equatorial” or “steamy” nights.

In addition to the already indicated novelty of predictions by municipalities instead of by the previous thermoclimatic zones (which sometimes served several different municipalities), this year a specific prediction is also offered for night temperatures, generating warning for “equatorial” nights” and “steamy”.

An tropical night is one in which the minimum temperature is not expected to drop below 20°c, an equatorial night is one in which the minimum is not expected to drop below 25°c, whilst a steamy night is one in which those minimum are not expected to drop before 28°c. In this Mediterranean area, a night with minimum temperatures of 20°c doesn’t trigger a health alarm.

A tropical night is considered one in which the minimum temperature does not drop below 20 °C, equatorial when the minimum does not drop below 25 °C and a torrid night when the minimum temperature is not below 28 °C. In this Mediterranean area, the night with minimum temperatures of 20º does not trigger the health alarm.

A hotter summer than usual

According to the three major weather and climate forecasting centres – the European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts (ECMWF), the United Kingdom Forecasting Centre (MetOffice), and the National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) – as well as other predictions and projections, it is expected that the Comunidad Valenciana is likely to experience higher temperatures than usual in the months of June, July and August this year.

Click here for recommendations for dealing excessive temperatures in the Comunidad Valenciana (external PDF document).

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