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How the potential of record-breaking heat could impact Amish country

todayJune 15, 2024 4

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A heat dome that could be record-breaking for the Ohio Valley and the Northeast means certain populations will be more vulnerable to extreme temperatures, which include the elderly, homeless and a large Amish community that will be directly underneath the ridge.The Amish are members of a traditional Christian religious group known for their simple living, which involves avoiding the use of televisions, computers, smartphones and other electrical appliances, including air conditioning.According to the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, there are an estimated 380,000 Amish members across the country, with the majority residing in Ohio and Pennsylvania.Lancaster County, PA, known for its rural landscape and fertile farmland, has become a focal point for the Amish community. Approximately a quarter of the entire U.S. Amish population resides there.7 FACTS ABOUT HEAT WAVESForecast models show an extended streak of temperatures in the mid to upper 90s impacting this region during the workweek, which leads to the question, how does the National Weather Service go about warning of dangerous weather to a population who is off the grid?”We work with the emergency managers of the counties that have Amish and Mennonite populations. The Mennonites observe similar practices to the Amish. Emergency management has the means to contact senior parish members and funnel down important messages,” Ashley Evans, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS office in State College, told FOX Weather.Evans noted that messaging about the impending heat wave has already been communicated to emergency managers, who are ensuring that local vulnerable populations are informed and prepared.Making sure no population is left in the dark has been a goal of the weather agency and a focal point of a taskforce known as WARN — Weather Awareness for a Rural Nation.As part of this initiative, some NWS offices have installed dedicated landlines for counties with large Amish populations. Additionally, efforts have been made to provide these communities with solar-powered or crank-operated radios for receiving weather alerts.GROWING HEAT DOME TO PRODUCE WARMEST TEMPERATURES IN YEARS WITH 100-DEGREE READINGS IN NORTHEASTAs for the upcoming heat wave, Evans believes that most will take the warm temperatures in stride as the community has become acclimated to life without air conditioning.The Amish Village, a group dedicated to teaching outsiders about the lifestyle, says members will adjust their schedules during extreme heat to include swimming, relaxing in the shade and even visiting markets with AC during the day’s maximum heat.The Amish do not have strict rules against going to stores or buying goods which can provide shelter during extreme weather.Some communities across the commonwealth are also making arrangements to open cooling centers, offering a place of relief from the heat for those in need.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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