Heat-related damage from renovation work in Florida’s Central Florida area has been rising since the start of the year, with a new report finding more than 1,200 people were injured by heat in the first half of this year.
That’s up from just over 200 the same time last year, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The increase is primarily attributable to heat waves that swept through the region in December and January, when temperatures soared to above 100 degrees.
In January, temperatures reached more than 100 degrees in Fort Myers, a town that sits at the epicenter of the heat wave.
“We’re seeing more and more heat related injuries in Central Florida, which is a great concern,” said Florida Department Public Health Director Stephanie Roush.
“But this is not the first time that we’ve seen this.”
The heat wave was especially brutal in March, when record-breaking temperatures caused the region to experience more than 50 heat-related deaths.
In the same month, there were over 800 heat-associated injuries reported in Florida.
More than two-thirds of those were in Broward County, which saw over 900 heat- related injuries during the same period.
The Department of Public Health estimates more than 300,000 people were exposed to heat in Central and South Florida during the heatwave, and nearly 40,000 residents were treated for heat-induced injuries.
Rouss said the heat can have a devastating impact on a community’s ability to function and provide for its residents.
“It’s a really scary situation,” she said.
“You have to make sure your home is protected from the elements, because the heat is just killing people.”
Rous’ office recently received reports of a rash of heat-injury-related incidents.
While heatwaves are not uncommon, they tend to be more prevalent in warmer climates.
For instance, in the winter of 2012-13, heatwaves in southern California led to nearly 1,400 heat- and water-related injuries.
But Florida’s heat wave is even more intense.
It began on December 31, and it was the most intense on record.
The first heat wave of the season began on January 1, with temperatures reaching as high as 95 degrees in Florida City, the largest of the state’s four coastal cities.
The heat also led to hundreds of deaths.
The number of heat and water injuries was up to 2,000 by the end of January, and the number of fatalities rose to more than 900.
Florida is home to about 70 percent of the nation’s population and has a population of nearly 14 million.
It’s a hot place to live, with high humidity, humidity in the 70s, and frequent flooding that can cause the state to experience a “flash flood” for a brief period of time.
For many, the heat waves can have devastating consequences.
“If it’s not something you have to do, and you’re willing to pay, it’s something that you’re really going to want to do,” Rous said.