The heat wave blues

Bleah. It’s hot! It’s been hot ever since I got back from Richland last Friday, but at least it was cooling off at night. No more… Starting Monday it got hot and just stayed hot – over 90 most of the time in the house. Yesterday the high was 105 and last night the “low” was 70 degrees. While some of you in hot climates may not think much of this, keep in mind that most of us in the Pacific NW don’t have any form of air conditioning – my house is 10-15 degrees warmer than the outdoors once this gets going. With skylights, high ceilings, and south-facing windows, there is not much hope for me.

Yesterday afternoon I started to feel that inevitable heat migraine coming on, so I finally gave up and went to a hotel. I felt sorry for my cat, who was sprawled out listlessly on the tile floor and looking at me like, “is it night-time yet”? The next two days are supposed to be hotter still – then we may get a “break” to 85 – which will no doubt feel quite cool by then. I came in this morning to check on things and have my couple hours on the computer before it gets too hot and they have to be shut down – only to find that to add insult to injury, my fan apparently shorted out during the night.

If there was ever any debate about whether I should fork over the cash for installing AC, my doubts are over. I’ve got tons of work to do this week, and most of it’s going to be at least a couple days late. As if to emphasize that I made the right decision, Newsweek ran an article on “things you don’t want to hear from climate scientists” discussing the latest bad news from the science front – turns out the models, rather than being alarmist, are actually underestimating the rate of change. Add to that the latest photos released by the US government showing the loss of polar ice and glaciers in various places, and I’m beginning to think it was a very good investment indeed. Now all we need is thin-film solar to power all the AC we’re going to need just to survive.

I miss the Seattle of my youth. The climate was much more temperate then – days below freezing in the winter and days above 80 in the summer were rare. (Lest you think this is just my childhood rose-colored glasses, I actually checked my recollection out with a UW meteorologist.) Contrast that to 2 feet of snow and temperatures in the teens this winter and 90+ weeks in May, July, and I am sure, August this summer and things have really changed. I can only hope this doesn’t become a distant memory for all of us.


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