The World Meteorological Organization has ‘no immediate plans’ to name heatwaves

A woman cools herself by a water sprinkler installed in the city during the heatwave in Kraków, Poland, on July 21st, 2022. | Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As extreme heat stifles communities around the world this week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that it has “no immediate plans” to give heatwaves names. The July 19th announcement seems to pump the brakes on growing calls to come up with a strategy for ranking and naming heatwaves around the world.

In the US, heat kills more people than any other weather-related disaster. Globally, it kills 5 million people a year. But heat spells haven’t always spurred the same careful preparations people might take to, say, shelter from a major storm. The goal of naming heatwaves would be to make it easier to communicate the risks they pose to the public so that people can take measures to stay safe.

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