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What The Hottest Month on Record Looked Like Across the US

Every city is grappling with the effects of extreme heat, but not every community is feeling the effects in the same way.

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In partnership with
American Journalism Project

No matter where you live, you've been impacted by the record-high temperatures surging across the US. But just because all of us have lived through the hottest month on earth it doesn't mean we're all in the same boat. To borrow an early Covid-era phrase, we may all be in the same storm, but some of us are on super yachts while others have just one oar.

What does that look like in the heat? It looks like children in Houston kept from public pools because of lifeguard shortages. Like outdoor workers in New Orleans struggling to make a living. And like Missourians in un-air-conditioned state prisons fearing for their lives.

And yet, pockets of hope remain. In El Paso, architects are doggedly researching how to provide maximum shade at scale; in Portland, a climate resilience program is working to connect vulnerable communities with efficient portable cooling units. These steps in the right direction are heartening, but remind us of how much of an uphill climb we face.

Read on to explore how the citizens of different cities are making their way through this storm, what innovations can be applied elsewhere, and which communities need national support.

Pocket has teamed up with the American Journalism Project to bring some of the best local journalism from across the country right to you—no matter where you live. Each month we’ll highlight deep dives into local stories with national impact—the kind of journalism that brings nuance and context to the major issues we face on a national scale. Read more about our partnership here and browse past collections to get your local fix.

Outdoor Workers Struggle During ‘Hottest Summer’ They Can Remember

Drew CostleyNigell Moses
Verite News

The excessive heat has especially been difficult for those whose occupations require them to work outside, especially in parts of the city like the French Quarter—laden with concrete and with sparse tree cover and where temperatures are routinely several degrees hotter than the rest of the city.

Read more of Verite News' coverage of how New Orleans residents are responding to the heat

American Journalism Project

The American Journalism Project (AJP) is the first venture philanthropy dedicated to local news. AJP makes grants to local nonprofit news organizations to build their revenue and business operations, partner with communities to launch new organizations, and mentor leaders as they grow and sustain their newsrooms. Learn more about the independent, community-driven nonprofit news organizations AJP supports.