News & Politics

It’s 95 Degrees in DC Today. But Some Neighborhoods Here Will Feel More Brutally Hot Than Others

Five parts of the city that could be classified as "urban heat islands."

Image courtesy of the Urban Heat Island mapping campaign.

On scorching days like today, Washingtonians are doing everything they can to find relief from the heat. But in some parts of the city, that’s more difficult than it is in others.

That’s because neighborhoods with lots of buildings and paved roads tend to trap more heat than areas with open green spaces, according to a study led by the chief scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia and cited by WUSA9. And in these so called “urban heat islands,” temperatures on hot days can reach dangerous levels. The study notes that as a result of the history of red lining, urban heat islands are disproportionately located in communities of color.

In recent years, a group of organizations—including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Integrated Heat Health Information System, and Climate Adaptation Planning and Analytics Strategies—has undertaken an effort to identify the urban heat islands in various cities. 

Based on their research, here are five of the hottest neighborhoods in DC:

  1. Ledroit Park/Shaw
  2. Brightwood
  3. Manor Park 
  4. Michigan Park/Brookland
  5. Trinidad

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.