Monday, July 25, 2022

HOT HOT HOT

DEBORAH CROMBIE: The only things happy in my garden right now are these black-eyed Susans, which glow like mini-suns in the afternoon heat. 



Here in the DFW area, we'll be telling stories about this last week for a long time. Even with air-conditioning, it was miserable. We had three consecutive days at 109 F.




Going outside in the afternoons felt like walking into a furnace. Between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. we were on power conservation alert, thermostats set to 80, no appliance usage. We held our breaths and watched the grid. (This graph is a good day. When the two lines converge, you're in big trouble.)




Cooking was impossible, and my beautiful garden burned to a crisp. (Except for the black-eyed Susans…)


But, for once, I was glad not to be in London, where it reached 104 F before the worst of the heat broke, and no one has air conditioning! (The ceremonial guards were allowed to shelter from the sun in the hottest part of the day, thank goodness. Can you imagine standing motionless in the sun in full uniform and bearskin hats?) 


Houses in the UK are built to retain heat, and most people don't even have fans. My daughter and I were in London during the (then) record-breaking heat wave of August 2003, so we've experienced it first-hand. It reached 38 C (100 F.) Our flat had one small table fan. We spent our days trying to find anywhere with AC (department stores!) and our evenings taking turns in cool baths or showers. The tube was unbearable and buses not much better. Grocery stores lost refrigeration and even the gelato shops closed because they couldn't keep the ice cream from melting. It was certainly a trip we didn't forget!


What's your most memorable extreme weather experience, REDs?


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, so awful, and I am so sorry, dear Debs! It’s “only” in the mid-90s here, but yikes, it is tropical! (Except for in the tropics there’s rain, so yeah, no, no rain here.) I lug water to the gasping tomato plants, and watch everything droop the moment the sun hits 11 AM. We have AC in the bedroom, and in my office, but otherwise we stagger around complaining.  The fans just swirl the hot air. 


Weather story? Well, lots, but  a recent one. Yesterday I heard a huge sound outside, and I looked out the window and didn't see anything and I was getting ready to interview RUTH WARE at a bookstore (!!!)  so I ignored it.  But turned out, the wind had really picked up, and there were tornado warnings, and a HUGE TREE across the street from us had blown over. I mean huge, and was so big it was blocking our entire street! 

Because it’s all about me, :-), my first thought was–I CANNOT BE LATE! MOVE THAT TREE. 


JENN McKINLAY: Well, I feel for you, Debs, but only because of your sketchy power grid. I’m in AZ, and we’ve been well above 110 for a while now, but our power is solid and AC makes it tolerable. We do spend a lot of time listening to music (today was the 80’s playlist) while floating in the pool, which is fun so you manage.


Worst weather event? Hub and I had just bought our house and I was looking outside at our back fence because a storm was brewing when boom! An entire section exploded. A microburst hit it right in the middle, sending the boards everywhere. Soon afterwards, we put in a block wall, but it was my first experience with a microburst and I’m good, totally good, forever and ever. Amen.


DEBS: Jenn, I envy you your pool! I've even missing my old inflatable hot tub, because you could at least get wet...


LUCY BURDETTE: Hank, I hope you got out in time! Debs and Jenn, so sorry for those temps! Like Hank, we are in the 90’s so I dare not complain. I have been holing up in the bedroom to write.


The weather event that comes to my mind–or was it two separate times that I’ve conflated?--was a trip to Vermont to ski with our kids and another family. It was snowing hard and the road was covered with black ice and people were sliding off left and right. I finally prevailed with John to find a motel. We got the last crummy room and I was so grateful to be alive!


DEBS: Black ice, yikes! That's the worst!

HALLIE EPHRON: Micro-bursts and tornadoes sound terrifying. And without warning!

It’s going up to 95 today, so this sounds so nice but at the time, not so much: Some years ago we had so much snow during a Nor’easter that this was the view out my office window. 




The snow was literally over my head in the driveway. In parking lots it was shoveled and piled in corners, several stories high. 


RHYS BOWEN: Commiserations to Debs and anyone else in the heat. While everyone else was sweltering I've had a perfect week on the beach in San Diego with fourteen family members. Amazing house on the water, kayaking, paddle boarding and lots of food, drink and laughter. Oh and it was 75 degrees all week!


I can’t imagine how awful it’s been in England. I was there for a heatwave a few years ago. My hotel room had no AC and I had to take a cold shower and go to bed wet. And the Tube! Black hole of Calcutta does not describe it!



JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: We are sweating it out here in southern Maine, where we’ve also been on a multi-day, 90F plus stretch. No AC at all in This Old House, but the heavy timber frame and plaster walls really help keep the heat out. I’ve been doing my extreme heat routine: open all the windows as soon as the temperature outside drops below the inside temp. Every room has at least one window fan sucking air in all night long. I set my alarm for 6am, pull the fans, shut the windows AND all the curtains, and go back to bed.


So far, the highest it’s gotten in the downstairs has been 78, which makes it cool enough to use table and box fans to feel comfortable. One of my tricks: a box fan at the head of the cellar stairs to bring up some of that 60F coolness! 


Objectively, I’ve had far more extreme cold weather events here, but the increasing number of degree days we’ve been experiencing worries me. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to get some window AC units to make the place habitable in late July and August in the future.


DEBS: Cooling off at night makes all the difference. (Not happening here!)


How about you, readers? How are you faring in the heat?


Here's a little treat for everyone sweltering: the outtakes from the movie BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, to HOT HOT HOT by Bina Mistry from the soundtrack. I cannot even think the words HOT HOT HOT without this song playing in my head.



In fact, if you've never seen the film, treat yourself to that, too. It's adorable. Catch a very young Kiera Knightly, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and the always wonderful Parminder Nagra in her first big role.






86 comments:

  1. It’s been toasty here, too, with the afternoon temperatures regularly hitting over 100. That’s kept us inside where air conditioning, fans, and iced tea keep us relatively comfortable. But I fear these heat waves are going to continue to plague all of us . . . .

    Generally, the worst weather we have here comes during hurricane season, but we’ve been fortunate to get through those storms without too much difficulty. One can only hope our good fortune continues . . . .

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    1. France, around 1993, a friend and I were in the south and driving back to Paris. It was raining hard, with almost hurricane-winds, and the lightning bolts were horizontal. The deluge hit the road with such force that it shut down the car's electrical system.

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    2. I drove through a hurricane in England!! Even though I live in tornado country here in Texas, that was my worst ever driving experience!

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  2. Luckily for us, tornados have been tracking north or south of us, but straight line winds and microbursts are bad enough. Blizzards, storms bad enough to wash out local bridges, and temps low enough or high enough to keep you miserable for days on end have all happened here. The worst though was a cold October storm that knocked out power for a week. I stuck it out stupidly and ended up in the hospital at the end of the week. Dehydration from not drinking enough.

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    1. Oh, Flora, how awful. It's hard to remember to drink in those kind of situations.

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  3. I was on an Alaska cruise last week, and it was cold up there - at least to this So Cal guy. It was in the 50s and cloudy. We even got rained on a bit.

    Now I'm back in So Cal where it is supposed to be mid-90s all week. Nothing too extreme for us here, but I think it will take a little bit to get used to it again.

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    1. 50s and cloudy sounds blissful to me at the moment!

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  4. I have barely left the apartment in days because you never know when the Blue Angels are going to do a maneuver right above your head and your hearing is going to shut down for 15 minutes. Not that it's really better indoors, but I'm set up with fans, whose white makes other noise more bearable. It's been hot, but I've mostly been sleeping through it. (I might have that only-fatigue Covid that's going around; what makes me think so is (a) I am really really tired, and (b) I can't understand the directions on my government-supplied Covid test, so I haven't taken it. Who in the government thought they should send alternative instructions in a test kit that SICK people have to figure out, rather than matching the directions to the contents?)

    I have many weather stories, but Hank's big-tree-blocking-the-street story reminded me of Labor Day weekend, 1972. I was in Marblehead, MA to be a bridesmaid in my friend Shula's wedding. I'd stayed often at Shula's parents' home, across from the big synagogue where her father was the rabbi, but this time, with so much company, I was staying at-- and about to vacate-- an oceanside cabin where she and her new husband would be staying for the following week of blessings.

    And then a hurricane came through.

    I spent the morning cleaning the cabin (to make it pristine for the newlyweds), trying to dry out the front seat of Shula's car (which I was using, and which had somehow gotten sopping wet with the force of the storm) while trying to keep my natural frizz looking something like the straight hair the styles of the day required. I would change unto my dress at the synagogue, but time was getting tight.

    Being from out of town, I knew one route from the cabin to the synagogue-- and I didn't even know the synagogue's name. But there was a GIANT tree across that one route, and a burly fireman directed me off into the twisted streets of suburban Marblehead, where I zigged and zagged and backtracked and somehow (though late, very late) got where I was going, parked the car, grabbed my dress, and entered the synagogue via the nearest door-- and stood there, lost, in semi-darkness. Where was the crowd? Where was the wedding?

    It turned out there had been a power outage and everything was running late. The wedding had to be postponed for a couple of hours (though they fed people who arrived during the wait from the crudite platters). I found the bride, in jeans, sitting cross-legged on the floor in the "Bride's room" with one of those portable hair dryers, the kind that looked like a big shower cap attached to a long plastic tube, on her head. Sometimes, if you're lucky, when YOU're late, so is everybody else.

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    1. What a great story! After all of that, I bet the marriage has been a huge success!

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    2. What a great story, Ellen! And take care of yourself and let us know how you're doing!

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  5. There has been news reports of heat waves around the world. And there was a recent fire in France. It was so bad that firefighters had to come from Spain, in addition to those from France to fight the fires! I do feel for those of you who are enduring the heat waves. I was reminded of when I visited Scottsdale ? in 2012 and it was still very hot in the evening that when I walked outside, I did not need my jacket.

    Yes, I remember the ice cream melting because it was so hot! And I was reminded of a tv skit? about it being so hot that you could drop an egg on the sidewalk and the egg would be fried within seconds!

    A relative visited Las Vegas this weekend where it was 113 F!

    No air conditioning in England? What about shade from trees or gardens? I wonder if a person could be cooler sitting under a tree with shade even when it is hot? I was in England the summer of 1990 and the hottest weather was 80 degrees ? I wore layers because I'm accustomed to the sudden changes in weather growing up in the SF Bay Area.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I can remember my daughter and I finding trees to sit under in Hyde Park! Shade definitely helps!

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    2. Debs, I am so glad that the shade definitely helps!

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  6. DEBS: I am thinking of you and other Reds & readers roasting in this summer heat! My hottest summers were in Toronto in the 2000s. I lived in a gorgeous Art Deco building but no AC was allowed. The electrical system could not handle it. So I experienced many sleepless nights in the sweltering heat during the 13 years I lived there. But it was affordable rent in a lovely part of mid-town Toronto so I stuck it out!

    In contrast, we had an abnormally cool EARLY summer in Ottawa this year. A few record hot days in early May (4 days) & one day above 30C/86F in June. I turned on my AC only three days during those 2 months. We finally had a prolonged heat wave this past week with humidex making it feel some days like 40C/104F. Fortunately, it looks like we are back to normal July warmth of 24-27C (75-81F) this week.

    But probably the worst weather was a prolonged ice storm in Toronto in December 2013 which knocked out power for over a week. Most of Southern Ontario was in a State of Emergency for 10 days. I had just flown to Ottawa the night the icestorm started. I was able to endure record cold temperatures of -40C/F with limited warm clothes in my Ottawa hotel room for those 10 days while waiting for the movers to arrive.

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  7. Well, I'm a southern California girl, and I used to say New England summers weren't hot enough for me. Never again! We have a window AC in the bedroom and in our sitting room/kitchen downstairs, but right now it's 83 in my upstairs office because it didn't cool down last night. But the run has broken today, and it might rain, and it won't reach 90. Whew!

    Arizona and Texas, I hear ya. I've lived in Mali and Burkina Faso, where it's regularly 110 or higher in the winter. We had AC in our cement block house but electricity was hugely expensive and we were on a tight budget, so we only used it during the middle of the day for a few hours. The house had one wall to the west that wasn't shaded. Part of my laptop keyboard warped from the heat. When you go outside, you wear loose cotton clothing and walk slowly. Brain work is hard.

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    1. Most terrifying winter weather was more than once driving in a furious snowstorm at night. If I had the headlights on, it would reflect on the snow and I couldn't see ANYTHING. So I turned them off and followed (at a safe distance) the headlights of the semi in front of me. Gah.

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    2. Edith, too hot or too cold, no brain work for me. And fog lights to the rescue! I had the same experience driving in a sudden snowstorm--took 7 hrs to get to my destination, but the fog lights were great--let me see the tracks other vehicles were making on the roadway.

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    3. It is indeed hard to think if you're too hot or too cold. Last week my brain felt fried, too.

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  8. And don't forget the toll that this deadly heat has on wildlife. This staggering loss occurred during last year's heat dome event in Vancouver, BC.
    https://www.npr.org/2021/07/09/1014564664/billion-sea-creatures-mussels-dead-canada-british-columbia-vancouver

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    1. Yes, Grace. All the stories on the news make me wonder about the critters both land and sea. How they must suffer.

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    2. We were in BC in October. The water levels were shocking. (And I so want to go an a rant about pipelines....)

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    3. Last week I was really worried about all the critters. We have a pond in our back yard and a fountain, so at least around here they've had a water source.

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  9. First of all, "Bend it Like Beckham" is an awesome movie! I've seen it several times and now seeing this video I have to watch it again! Here in Georgia, US, it hasn't been much different than usual except maybe even more humid! Walking outside feels like you are being enveloped in a blanket, 90s daily. So thankful for air-conditioning, which I just finally got four years ago. I used to just lie in bed and gasp the summer away! I have to say it can get worse!

    When I adopted my kids in China five years apart I just dripped all the time. I had sealed my passport in a supposedly waterproof bag, but somehow the moisture got in there and ruined it. The stubborn 6-3/4-year-old I adopted on my second trip refused to remove the denim jacket and pants she came in with a short outfit underneath. She was just pouring sweat and I got accosted by many Chinese people cussing me out in Mandarin! A Georgian all my life, I really want to move somewhere cooler, especially with these weather changes everywhere!

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    1. Now I want to watch Bend It Like Beckham again, too!

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    2. Loved the movie Bend It Like Beckham. I used to babysit for a young daughter of a family friend who loved to play soccer (aka European football).

      Diana

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  10. Stay cool, Debs. I love your black-eyed susans! I read a piece in the WaPo that renewable sources of energy have saved the grid in Texas this summer. Yay, renewables! I love, love love Bend it Like Beckham. Thanks for the reminder.

    We've had a lovely summer so far in the Pacific Northwest, with cloudy mornings burning off to 80-90 degree days (after record setting rains this spring). Starting today, we have 97, 101,98,96. Many if not most of us don't have air conditioning. I know I'll get through it (last year when we had a couple of days around 116, I went to my sister's house; she has air). I get up early and go for my walk, water the yard and do stuff. In the afternoon and evening, my main goal is to stay cool with fans and cool showers. I go to bed with a wet towel and try to sleep. Ugh.

    Weather event? Our big snow storm from December 2008 comes to mind. I was scheduled to work three days in my job as a 9-1-1 supervisor and I had my friend with four-wheel drive take me to work. I sensibly brought a bag with several changes of clothes and was planning to sleep on one of the emergency cots our 9-1-1 center had available. I worked 12 hours, then walked across the park to my friend Curt's house, stayed there, walked back to work for another 12 hour shift. Work was crazy busy and of course we were missing employees. The rules say we had to be there no matter the weather, but some folks live more than an hour away and were unable to get out of their driveways. I spent the second night at my friend Anne's, along with another coworker. The three of us trudged back to work through the snow in the am. My dad was nearing the end of his life, and needed 24 hour care. My son had been doing the overnight shifts. None of the other caregivers were able to get there, so Matt ended up staying with my dad those three days. The last day of my work ordeal with Christmas Eve. By then my brother-in-law was able to come get me and take me to dad's for a visit and then home. That night I had to dig my car out (finally!) and white-knuckle it to the ER. My dad had had his second heart attack. The first Christmas without mom (she had died in September) included work and worry and a night at the hospital ER. It was definitely a painful and memorable holiday season.

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    1. Yes, renewables have saved our tushies, as they said in the Post. It's been very interesting to keep track of how much power is coming from wind and solar.

      Gillian, my husband had lots of getting to work in all weather stories when he was a 9-1-1 supervisor. After we were married it was a hour drive (assuming no traffic.) It's such a stressful job even without the weather complications.

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  11. So many storms! So many stories!
    Storm Larry in February of 1978. Left my car in a vacant gas station at the bottom of the hill on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington and began my trek home, about a mile and a quarter in my "fashion boots." The worst part was walking up the hill that was already littered with cars, which had made it necessary to leave mine. About 3/4 of a mile in, the local veterinarian picked me up in his truck and drove me most of the way to my condo. The governor shut down the roads to traffic so they could shovel them out. When the snow ended, everyone in the condo went out with shovels to dig out everyone's cars, group effort. Then someone drove me to the abandoned gas station to dig out my car. This was BI. Irwin didn't buy the condo across the street until 1979.

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    1. Oh, Judy, and of course that was pre cell phone, so if you got stuck you couldn't call for help. So scary!

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  12. So jealous of your black-eyed susans, Debs - bunnies ate mine to the ground, and when I put in new plants the next year, did it again. Today we're hoping for rain and it's a tad cooler.

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    1. We do have bunnies here, Hallie, so if my black-eyed susans disappear, I'll know who to blame! Our plague is the squirrels. They dig up everything, and in this heat they've pulled up and eaten all the tender-stemmed plants like begonias. I guess I can't blame them.

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    2. Hi Deborah. I'm one of your biggest fans! I live about halfway between Houston and Galveston, and believe it or not it's only 93 here this afternoon. As to critters, we have squirrels and bunnies too, but our biggest diggers are armadillos. They have left holes all over the lawn and dig up every flowering plant the minute it's planted.

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  13. Black-eyed Susans in full, glorious bloom in Cincinnati. Temps in the nineties every day with humidity to match. I spend my days deep watering the eight new arborvitae bushes we planted, 30 minutes each. Doing my daily rain dance.

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    1. Not the summer to have put in new landscaping, Margaret!! Even with an irrigation system I'm spending a couple of hours a day hand watering. But a lot of the potted plants are dead now and just need to come out.

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  14. Northern New York just south of Canada - we had a couple 90 degree days. Including this past Saturday when our home was on the Secret Garden Tour. So many people braved what was a hot day for us. Luckily we have a sizeable shade garden with a path running through it and a very large covered patio. We have three water features including one that is like rain falling from an arbor. One woman carried a little dog and she stuck his head under the water to cool him off. I'm sorry for your gardens Debs. Ours are looking glorious right now. And luckily we got some rain last night.

    Keeping cool - usually we just open the windows at night like Julia. I put a fan in an unused bedroom and have it suck the hot air out. That creates a breeze of cool air coming in each of the other windows. In our other house we put a whole house fan in the attic to pull cool air in the bedroom windows.

    Worst weather - we survived the ice storm of January 1998. Freezing rain all night that coated the trees inches thick. Of course they couldn't handle the weight so they bent or broke. We were on 40 acres in a rural area. In the hills all around us the sound of trees snapping was like gun shots or fire works. As it began to melt it slid off the trees and we had ice pieces eight inches deep in our driveway. Eleven days without power. We used the outdoors to keep food cold. Slept next to the woodstove and melted snow for water. It was really bad in Canada as I'm sure some folks here can tell you.

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    1. A Secret Garden tour? That sounds so wonderful! Tell us more! I should have posted pictures of our garden in June (too busy writing.) I felt so cheated that it got so hot so early in the summer. Now, even with our native perennials, it's pretty scorched. 30 100 degree-plus so far, and I think we are now at least 50 days without rain.

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    2. Our local secret garden tour is an annual fund raiser for the Kent-DeLord House Museum. Eight or so gardens are chosen. Tickets are sold in advance. The ticket allows you to pick up a map and brochure because the locations of the gardens are kept secret until the day of. We had a good crowd wander through our grounds.

      Debs I really hope that your native perennials spring back. I watch the news every night and think of you and the other Reds and Readers and what you might be experiencing.

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    3. JC: Yes, the 1998 ice storm is the most expensive weather disaster in Canadian history, causing over $5.4B (billion) in damages. I was working at Environment Canada's weather service HQ in Toronto but accepted a 3-year secondment with Emergency Preparedness Canada (EPC) in fall 1998. EPC gave out the Government of Canada first ever $1B preliminary payment to Quebec for the 1998 Ice Storm. A copy of that $1B cheque was framed & placed in the main boardroom.

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    4. JC, I've thought about doing an attic fan, but I don't know how it would integrate with our drop-down steps. Actually, I'm not sure you can have one in a full attic. I'm going to have to do more research, because I've stayed in houses with them and it really does add to the comfort.

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    5. Grace - Oh my that is expensive. I know the devastation was widespread. Very much in awe of your career.

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    6. JC, my worst weather was also ice storm of January 1998. I was in what they called, here in Quebec, the triangle . I lost power for 30 days. I was alone to feed my wood stove and my mother-in-law’s because she was in hospital. I went to work, afraid, on icy roads. Not the best souvenir.

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    7. Sorry, it was Danielle

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  15. Here in Columbus they are predicting a week with no days in the 90's for the first time in weeks. Enjoying it while it lasts, as August is when we usually get our hottest days.

    All my best weather stories are cold weather ones, so I'll save them. But just the other day the college-aged daughter of our friends was driving through one of the lovely older suburbs during a storm and a giant old tree fell on the back half of her car! She was unharmed, but everything behind the front seats was destroyed. We are all so thankful she came out ok -- that could have been so much worse.

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    1. Oh my gosh, that is terrifying. Such a near miss. If you've ever wondered why our Texas governor is in a wheelchair, it's because when he was in college in Houston, a tree fell on him while he was jogging.

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  16. Black-eyed Susan's are glorious, Debs, hope you get some relief from the heat soon and that the grid holds up.

    Weather stories, oh, my. I've been close enough to lightening strikes to feel the effects three times, only once in the actual storm - stay away from me when the thunder rumbles, but remember, if you can hear the thunder, lightening can find you. The first was when the van I was travelling in was hit, entire car turned blue and that was the end of anything electric. The second was reaching for a faucet to refill my water bottle when the bolt came out of the spigot and traveled out the window. I was knocked across the room and the window sill still has the burn marks. The third I was skimming the pool and felt the pole vibrate. Next thing I knew I was in the water and the net was melted. The last two events happened when the thunder was far enough away that I was trying to decide if it was thunder or a truck passing on a nearby road.

    Huddled in a friend's house during Hurricane Andrew - we were fine but no electric for a week, then huddled in my own house during what we called the hurricanes of the week that included Katrina's eye passing overhead - now THAT's eerie. The next year was Wilma - a tornado twisted the 50-year old mango tree three feet outside my dining room window. The house was undamaged with the exception of one chipped roof tile. Good news since it was under contract for sale! Grateful that I've been so lucky through it all.

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    1. Wow, Kait, you're a lightening magnet! And incredibly lucky! I hope you've worked these experienced into stories!

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    2. My gosh, Kait, I think I would keep my distance from you if I merely saw a cloud in the sky! I’m glad you were not seriously injured.

      DebRo

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  17. It's been hot at home, but we've been enjoying pretty nice weather in Northern Michigan for the last few days. Right now in Traverse City it's 70 degrees and partly sunny.

    Ohio has its share of nutty weather. One spring a hurricane that first plowed through Texas swooped up and hooked through our area before its fury was spent. Lots of power outages, but the most memorable scene from that storm was watching two deer tearing around our front yard, panicked. They couldn't decide where safety was.

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    1. Oh. I do feel for the animals experiencing storms and extreme weather.

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  18. Watching the nightly news with images of the impact of the awful heat happening in so many places is just awful. Up here on prairies, we reached 38C/100F a while back and with humidity it pushed the feeling to 40C/104F. Unbelievable for us -- and pretty unbearable in a no A/C ceiling-fan-only little house. Though nothing like what others are now experiencing. Climate change is real and devastating.

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    1. I didn't realize the heat reached that far north, Amanda. Did it at least cool down at night?

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    2. Deborah: Some nights remained hot and also humid: yuck. But mostly it did cool down, thank goodness. That makes all the difference.

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  19. It hasn’t been pleasant here, but I have a much harder time getting through the winter. Those cold, dark months make me feel like I’m enclosed in a cave. I’m terrified to drive in the winter, too. Many years ago when I hadn’t been out of college very long and I was still living at home, a horrible late March snow storm developed on a Friday after I got to work. For some reason my mom didn’t have her car that day, and I was going to pick her up from work. My dad didn’t get out of work until later. Well, people from my building parked in a garage a few blocks away. Walking to the garage was frightening and hazardous. I got out of work at 4:30. I worked in downtown Stamford CT but my mom worked a few miles away. It was a long, slow drive to get her with blinding snow coming down, and I had to detour a few times because streets were impassable. When I finally got to her office building, my car got stuck. Hardly anyone was around. We decided to walk home from there. Part of the walk was uphill, and really challenging. There were no cell phones then, so there was no way to call home and talk to the younger kids or to contact my dad. It was close to 7 by the time we got home. My nervous Nellie dad was already home, convinced we were dead or in the ER! The next day it was a lot warmer, the snow started melting, and we retrieved my car from the parking lot at my mom’s office.

    As for summer, I have central AC, my car is air conditioned (I just had the AC in the car replaced), and anywhere I need to go is also air conditioned. The roads are not covered with ice or snow. My only concern is making sure I’m home if a bad thunderstorm is coming.

    DebRo

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    1. It's so scary now to remember not having cell phones if you were in some kind of trouble!

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    2. In the mid-70s when I lived in Houston I got stuck in a thunderstorm where the arroyos flooded and forced me into a neighborhood which was on slightly higher ground. When the people who lived in the house near where I was parked saw me they came out and offered to let me use their phone since there were no cell phones in common use yet. Very scary.

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    3. Emily, it was so kind of those people to let you use their phone after they noticed you.

      DebRo

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    4. Houston is so dangerous when it floods!

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  20. I've been suffering through the recent days of nature's air conditioning - we have enjoying West coast FOG in the San Francisco Bay Area for a few days. :-) Bliss.

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    1. Not in the South Bay! We haven’t been below 100 for more than a week!

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  21. I will say I'm ready for apples and pumpkins and autumn!

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    1. Jenn, I'm starting to get Christmas stuff in my Instagram feed! It was so hot that I was almost tempted to watch those snowy reels!

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  22. Oh geez, Debs. That's nasty.

    We haven't had much heat here, but we also haven't had enough rain. Last week, the farm where I get vegetables saw its first measurable precipitation since mid-May. The May storm was a derecho. Last night, I had on earbuds listening to podcasts and kept hearing a weird tapping noise. Asked my husband what it was and giving me a very strange look he answered, "rain." Now, if only it would become an ordinary sound!

    I used to drive across the country 4-6 times a year so encountered lots of weather. That "yes, we have no banans" hill in Scranton, PA in sleet, severe thunderstorms after dark in the hills of Kentucky, blizzards in the Poconos, green skies and accordion clouds in Des Moines. Driving through southern Kansas in August, you can see the weather developing and choose a route or plan food breaks to avoid potential tornadoes. None of that prepared me for an ice storm though.

    I was living in Amherst, Massachusetts in the mid '90s. It was the week after Christmas and the ice descended. Everything stopped. I think, even time. For three days, the tree boughs bent to the ground, groaning under the icy coating. The quality of light during the day never changed from a strange bluish gray. At night the ice would reflect light from the houses, each tiny branch like a crystal. When it started to break up, it cracked and tinkled and spread shattered bits of ice over the ground which melted and froze again. But the trees reached toward the sky again. I remember thinking that this was proof that human beings are no match for the earth but bless her, is she ever the best source of a metaphor.

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    1. I've seen those green skies in Iowa, driving across the state on a book tour. Here in Texas, too, in tornado season.

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    2. Mustard colored tornado skies here in WI. I knew instantly what they meant!

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  23. Debs, I was also in the UK in 2003 for that heat wave. My husband and I were in a 400 year old farmhouse in Suffolk which as you said was built to retain heat in a cold, wet climate. No cross ventilation, tiny windows with that small horizontal opening at the top, obviously no AC and no fans either. In retrospect we should have abandoned the idea of sleeping in the upstairs bedroom and moved to the kitchen with the somewhat cool brick tiles--why didn't I think outside the box then!?!?

    Locally here in central Pennsylvania the worst weather related event would be Hurricane Agnes in 1972. The Susquehanna River rose to over 33 feet which meant the river flooded about 3 miles inland.

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  24. Here is a clip about the extreme heat in the UK. Meteorologist vs. TV anchor. Is it funny or sad?
    https://www.cnn.com/videos/media/2022/07/23/uk-news-clip-reaction-weather-weir-nr-vpx.cnn

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  25. Last night, I waited up until after eleven, but the temps were still in the low eighties/28C, so I didn't open the windows. Thankfully, I woke up to light rain and 73 degrees, so everything is open now. Of course, humidity is literally 100 per cent outside, so it's not as refreshing as it might be, but it's perfectly comfortable working at my desk with my fan on.

    I was reading a Twitter thread about the British weather, and some intellectual giant scoffed, "Who doesn't have AC in the 21st century?" Infrastructure follows historic climate patterns! Which is why those of us in northerly parts of the world are going to have a lot of modifications to make.

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    1. They are talking about new building standards in the UK, requiring homes to better withstand rising temperatures. But the UK, obviously, has more than its share of old buildings that are not easy to retro fit. Thinking about the beautiful flat where Kayti and I were staying in that heat wave and shuddering at the idea of sticking a window unit AC in one of the Victorian windows... And of course more air conditioning means rising energy use, which increases warming trends. Vicious circle.

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  26. Winter here brings the worst memories, but heat seems to be getting hotter each year. Well, no "seems" about it, is getting hotter. We never used to see a high of 90 and now we see temps several degrees above that. I do not have AC so I do what Julia does and it has been bearable. Actually my dog, a Shetland sheepdog suffers much more than I do.

    But the worst non winter disaster happened to my son. He was building a large story and a half garage and had all the trusses on (the skeleton boards that gives the roof shape). Overnight, a huge wind came through and ripped every single piece of wood off! Piles of nothing but kindling lay all over the ground. We were all devastated.

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    1. Yikes, Judi. What a disaster.
      We don't usually get 100 degree temps here until late July or August (last summer we only had 8 100 degree days) but this year our first was June 11th. That was a nasty shock, I can tell you!

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    2. Here in The Bay Area we had several 105+ days in May, and several in June. It can be over 100 all the way into early November.

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  27. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 25, 2022 at 2:50 PM

    I'm am breathing a big sigh of relief this week and actually breathing without the heat trying to steal my breath away. July has been a scorcher, with temps in the high 90s, which means it feels like well over 100. Debs, I hate to think what your temp of 109 actually feels like. However, on and off last night, in the wee hours of the morning, we had thunderstorms that brought rain that brought temps in the 80s today, high supposed to be 85. I know it was thunderstorming because my dog Lulu did her rounds of "where can I go to hide," and I'm the one who is awake for that. I have recently cleared out a spot in the bottom of one of my bedroom closets, and that's where she's ending up when it storms (but she still has to go through her nervous fits first). I checked the weekly forecast, and it's supposed to be in the 80s all week, along with rain, which I don't mind a bit right now. I have felt so bad for those in England and also here who don't have central air conditioning during the oppressive heat. Of course, growing up, we didn't have central air until I was 15 when we moved to a new house. The home of my childhood had one window unit air conditioner in the living room and that was it. We spent most time indoors in the cool basement. And, really, we weren't in that much when I was a child, as we spent so much time outdoors. But, temps weren't as hot as they are now. Hmm. Global warming?

    My worst weather experience was the horrific ice storm of 2009 that lasted three days. The ice storm lasted three days, but its effects lasted weeks into months. The ice built up on power lines and trees, dragging them to the ground. 90% of western Kentucky was without power by the evening of January 27, 2009. Yes, that included me. I was without power for a week. It was winter and it was cold. I had a fireplace and my son was home to bring firewood in (husband was away in Army then), but the only warmth you could get from the fireplace is if you sat right in front of it. The house would be bitterly cold most of the day, but when I went to bed, I had to sleep bundled in clothes and piles of blankets. I sent my son to one of his friend's house that had power to sleep. My mother-in-law had power, but she didn't want my dog to accompany me to her house. That was a deal breaker for me. I was not going to abandon my dog to our cold house by herself. My mother-in-law finally said I could bring the dog, the last two nights of my outage. The dog was very well-behaved, slept on the floor in the bedroom with me, and had no accidents.

    Now, during the same ice storm, a traumatizing (for me) event happened that shook me to my core. I was able to get out in my car and had gone for coffee. I was waiting at a traffic light and was apparently under a light post that curved out into the street. I heard a horrendous bang and my back windshield shattered. I thought someone had shot at my car with a gun. It was a block of ice that fell from the light post onto my back windshield and shattered it. I was shattered along with it. My nerves were pushed a bridge too far. I called my daughter in hysterics, which she didn't fully comprehend because, well, you wouldn't unless you experienced that event yourself. I did go on to call the car windshield people, took the car in, and they were wonderful fixing the window and cleaning the glass from the car. You might understand that ever since then I have hated ice or the threat of an ice storm.

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    1. Kathy, what a horrible experience that 2009 storm must have been. We were only without power for three days in the Texas Snowmageddon of 2021. But we were also stuck--our driveway was a solid sheet of ice and we couldn't get the cars out.

      I would have been terrified by the ice breaking my windshield, too!

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  28. Santa Clara University, where I worked from 2000 to 2006, had a small part to play in Bend It Like Beckham: In 1999, while “Beckham” was in production, SCU’s soccer team was ranked number one for most of the year. The co-writer of the film, Paul Mayeda Berges, happened to be from the Bay Area. This led a producer of the film to contacting SCU’s athletic department for permission to use the University in the film. The athletic staff agreed and supplied the producers with a sweatshirt and a team photo. As a result, a character in “Beckham” refers to the University’s women’s soccer team as “one of the top teams” in America, and, at the end of the movie, SCU’s sweatshirt is displayed prominently. The producers even went so far as to alter the Bronco team photo provided by the athletic department- placing Jess Bhamra’s head over real-life player Aly Wagner’s. Wagner was the 2001 national player of the year. (Susan Shea)

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    1. I love this tidbit, Susan, as I'm such a Bend It Like Beckham fan!!

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    2. How interesting! That’s one of my favorite movies, and I think it’s time for me to watch it again!

      DebRo

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    3. I attended law school at Santa Clara University. I didn’t know about the connection to the movie. Very cool!

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  29. I'm in western San Francisco where we're lucky to see the sun for a bit in the afternoon, and the temperatures have been in high 50s. You all know what Mark Twain said about summer in San Francisco. The next thing is going to be smoke from the fire just outside Yosemite.

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    1. Fifty miles to the south, we have sunny skies all the time and temperatures fifty degrees warmer. I’m not a fan of the San Francisco climate! Winds are coming from the west, so for now the smoke will go to the east.

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  30. Living in Dallas in the summer of 69, I was 9.5 months pregnant. Went to Church a lot :)

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    1. My daughter was a 9 1/2 month late June baby, so I sympathize!

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  31. We've had a few days in the mid-90s. Yesterday was 95. But then it rained overnight and this morning, so we're back down to 83.

    Two weather incidents of note, one I lived through and one I watched. Maybe the second year we were married, a microburst hit Pittsburgh. Wiped out our power for 7 days straight. I remember parts of Kennywood were destroyed and power crews from neighboring states, including good old NYS Electric & Gas, came to help repair. That was fun. Not.

    The second was Snowvember in Buffalo in...2017? I might have the year wrong. A lake-effect storm dumped 83" of snow on the Southtowns in 72 hours. People were digging holes in the snow to store their food while the electricity was out. The pictures were amazing. Look it up if you can. There's one of a church in Buffalo where half is in the storm and the other half is under clear blue skies.

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    1. I remember seeing the Buffalo storm in the news, Liz.

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