Oahu had hottest year on record in 2019, officials say

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HONOLULU (AP) — Oahu experienced its hottest year on record in 2019, according tofederal officials and municipal authorities.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the island reached its highest temperatures last yearand the National Weather Service said 273 daily temperature records were tied or broken across the state,Hawaii Public Radio reportedThursday.

A separate study by the City and County of Honolulu also found the state experienced its hottest recorded day last year.

The city’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency performed the first Community Heat Assessment Aug. 31.

The study found the maximum heat index in several Oahu communities was more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 Celsius), with Waimalu Plaza Shopping Center recording the highest temperature at 107.3 (41.8 Celsius).

“By all indications, that’s the new normal,” said Josh Stanbro, Honolulu’s chief resilience officer. “So that’s why we have to take action immediately to try to reverse that trend. We have to completely slam on the brakes in terms of burning carbon fuels for our energy source.”

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Wednesday that increasing the city’s tree canopy is expected to help cool communities.

City officials advised residents to protect themselves from high temperatures, especially children and the elderly.

Honolulu Emergency Services Director Jim Howe urged residents to not leave children or pets in locked carson hot daysand advised surfers and stand-up paddleboarders to drink a liter of water before heading onto the water.

“The time you need to be most prepared is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” Howe said. “Every one of our lifeguards here knows that when you’re out at the beach, the first place you go is you go for the shade. So you want to stay in the shade and you want to stay well-hydrated.”

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