Montreal is bracing itself for another heatwave, and this one will be even longer and hotter than previous heatwaves this summer.
Montreal has open data that can be used to determine which areas are most at-risk when heat waves strike. This data is useful for police and emergency first responders, according to CBC.
With this data in hand, health workers can improve the way they reach out to people at risk, and the city can work on making these "hot spots" less hot, using new "green spaces," for example.
Heatwaves in Montreal can be deadly, especially for babies, children, the elderly, and pets. A total of 66 people died from heat-related deaths in 2018.
Heatwaves are exacerbated in cities because of the abundance of concrete and lack of greenery, leading to a "heat island effect." The Star reports that "urban areas can feel as much as 12 degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas thanks to the heat island effect."
Some neighbourhoods are more likely to experience this heat island effect, due to a reduced amount of greenery and vast expanses of concrete. The heat map above shows which neighbourhoods are more likely to experience this effect.
The dramatic damage that heat islands cause is especially evident when we compare the boroughs of TMR and Parc-Ex. The two boroughs are side-by-side.
However, there is a dramatic difference between the boroughs, as the Star points out. TMR is one of the city's richest boroughs, whereas Parc-Ex is one of the poorest.
This income difference means that Parc-Ex residents are less likely to be able to afford AC, even though they need it more because Parc-Ex has less greenery and tree cover.
In TMR, there were no heat-related deaths last summer. In the first few blocks of Parc-Ex, there were at least 3.
Looking at the map reveals that heat islands are due to both environmental and social factors. According to Montreal's map, the most at-risk boroughs for the "heat island" effect are Saint-Léonard and LaSalle.
This year, Montreal is hoping to improve its reaction to heat waves. The city is hoping to do a better job of reaching out to vulnerable people, and "greening projects."
Read the city's report here.