HMNs Help with Heat Watch Project

Carl waiting for the stroke of 6am to start his route on July 15.

On July 15, HMNs Adrie Voors, Art Fovargue, and I, along with other volunteers, participated in the “Heat Watch” project, a nationwide program for heat mapping in local communities. Our job was to drive around a preset 20-mile route with a temperature sensor attached to the passenger’s side window of our car. The device measures the temperature once a second and stores the data. Once we finished and returned the equipment, the data were downloaded and analyzed by CAPA (Climate Adaptation Planning and Analytics), with the goal of locating “heat islands” in our community. All together, there were four routes, each one driven three times, 6-7 AM, 3-4 PM, and 7-8 PM.

The effort in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area was coordinated by Bridgewater College student Trevor Brooks as part of an ongoing research project. Nationally, there were 13 Heat Watch campaigns in 11 states. The effort in Virginia was undertaken by the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, including Bridgewater College and 12 other Virginia colleges, who took measurements in 10 communities throughout the Commonwealth.

As the climate warms, we know that people and places will be impacted differentially. The Heat Watch project is one attempt to try to quantify how these effects are distributed, with the goal of mitigating or adapting to them.

Carl Droms, Cohort II, July 2021

Below left, Carl and Adrie show off the temperature sensor attached to the passenger window of Adrie’s car. On the right, Art is in the navigator (passenger) seat of his car for the team effort he shared with his wife Kathy.

More about the Heat Watch project HERE.