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Full screen 1/51 SLIDES © Canva 50 cities facing more extreme heat in 2020

Extreme heat kills more people every year than all other serious weather events.

Dangerously high temperatures can quickly overwhelm victims without much warning and can cause death or grave illness virtually anywhere in the country. Those who work outdoors are especially vulnerable, as are the elderly, the infirm, small children, and pets—especially those that are even briefly left in vehicles.

Extreme heat disrupts agriculture and puts enormous pressure on utilities and electrical grids. It makes fires much more likely both in the wild and in structures. The hottest days are also a heavy lift for municipalities, which are forced to open cooling centers, corral homeless populations, and put extra emergency responders on the streets.

There was a time when record-breaking heat was a big deal and when the hottest temperature records stood unchallenged for decades. Today, those records are commonly broken shortly after being set and then quickly broken again. Just as with hurricanes, droughts, and other dangerous weather, extreme heat events are becoming both more frequent and more severe as the effects of climate change become inescapable. Across the country, the hottest days are getting hotter, the coldest days are getting warmer, and summer is encroaching further and further into fall.

In order to find the cities facing more extreme heat in recent summers, Stacker analyzed data in a July 2020 report from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate communication organization. The report analyzed historical temperature data for 243 cities from NOAA’s Applied Climate Information System over a study period from 1970 to 2019. To select the primary temperature threshold for each city, an “extremely hot day” is defined as the highest 5 degree Fahrenheit increment temperature that occurred at least four days every year during more than half of the years of the study period (1970-2019). Change in the number of “extreme heat” days is based on linear regression. When available, contextual summer weather data from 1970 to 2019 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Time Series database is provided.

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Florida sheriff holds up photos to the press showing difference between riots and peaceful protests

A Florida sheriff held up photos showing the difference between a peaceful protest and a riot during a press conference announcing stricter laws on violent protesters.

“I can tell you folks so that there’s no misunderstanding today,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Monday while holding up two photos. “This is a peaceful protest. This is a riot. We can tell the difference. The governor can tell the difference. Our law enforcement officers can tell the difference.”

In typical Grady Judd fashion, the Polk Co. sheriff brought cue cards to the governor's press conference to help illustrate the difference between peaceful protests and riots.

— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) September 21, 2020

“I truly believe in our God-given right and our constitutional right to speak openly and freely to address our government. That’s important. We listen every day. But I’ve also watched across this country when law enforcement officers who put their life on the line were told to stand down, allow them to burn the precinct,” Judd added.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced a bill this week that would enforce mandatory minimum sentences for those involved with violent protests and strip them of government benefits. The bill would also take state funding from cities that move to defund local police departments.

“If you are involved in a violent or disorderly assembly and you harm somebody, if you throw a brick and hit a police officer, you’re going to jail, and there’s going to be a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least six months for anyone who strikes a police officer, either with a weapon or projectile. And we’re also not going to simply let people back out on the street," DeSantis said. “So if you are in custody for one of these offenses relating to a violent or disorderly assembly, you’re not getting bail before your first appearance.”

“If you are from another state and you come to participate in one of these violent or disorderly assemblies, you’re going to have extra penalties imposed on you as well,” DeSantis added.

Riots have broken out across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. Amid the riots have been calls to defund police departments in favor of alternative, community-based policing. The defund the police movement has been rejected by many within the Republican Party as well as some Democratic lawmakers.

“In recent weeks, law enforcement has become the target of a dangerous assault by the radical Left. The left-wing extremists have spread mayhem throughout the streets of different cities, in particular, Portland. If you look, Portland is one,” President Trump said in July.

Some in the media have criticized Trump’s use of the word “riots” to describe the violence seen in major cities this summer, including CNN's Chris Cillizza.

“Trump's efforts to label what is happening in major cities as ‘riots’ speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking, at the moment,” Cillizza tweeted last month with by a photo of what appears to be law enforcement officers standing in front of a burning building.

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