The same hot day without rain over and over and over is beginning to get on my last nerve.
Some people get their emotions all out of whack when it is cloudy and cold and dark all the time. It’s called SAD, for Seasonal Affective Disorder. I may not be depressed from the temperature peaking near 100 degrees every day and “nary a clown in the sky” as someone used to say. One can be danged sure though that I am truly sick of, seemingly, the same high pressure center parking its hot rear end over my part of the world and seeing how long it can stay there.
I know folks around these parts who say they can’t remember a hot, dry spell like the one we have been having here in Southeast Texas. I can remember such spells but they were not exactly in this part of the state. Most recently I think of the Summer of 1998 while living in Waco. That summer was No. 4 on the all-time list of consecutive 100-degree days in that “Heart of Texas (HOT)” city with a total of 29 days in a row, according to the National Weather Service. This year is the new No. 1, with a string of 44 days when the temp was at least 100. That streak thankfully ended on Aug. 12.
Before that was the summer of 1980. I lived in Nacogdoches that year, about two hours to the north of where I now live. I worked then as a firefighter and was in between semesters in college. I remember it as plenty hot then as I lived in a little shotgun shack with an air conditioner that gave its all in a house surrounded by no trees. But we had nothing of a summer in comparison with Dallas and even Waco. That was the No. 2 Waco summer of consecutive 100-degree days with 42 in a row. Dallas had it much worse that 1980 summer as it was the all time number of consecutive and total days of 100-degree days. I remember a friend told me a story about being inside a Dallas bar at 10 p.m. during that summer and the deejay announced, to applause, that the temperature had fallen to 100 degrees.
But I don’t remember summers like that where I now live, which is basically within 60 miles of where I was raised.
And thus a little new history from this summer in nearby Houston:
…THE 100-DEGREE DAY RECORDS FOR SOUTHEAST TEXAS… …2011 NOW HAS MORE 100 DEGREE DAYS THAN ANY OTHER YEAR IN CITY OF HOUSTON WEATHER HISTORY… THE HIGH TEMPERATURE HAS ONCE AGAIN SOARED TO 101 DEGREES IN HOUSTON. THIS IS THE 22ND CONSECUTIVE DAY THAT THE MERCURY HAS CLIMBED TO THE CENTURY MARK. THIS IS ALSO THE 33RD TIME THIS YEAR THAT THE 100 DEGREE THRESHOLD HAS BEEN REACHED OR EXCEEDED. THIS BREAKS THE RECORD OF 32 ONE HUNDRED DEGREE DAYS ESTABLISHED IN 1980.
MOST CONSECUTIVE 100-DEGREE DAYS AT HOUSTON (DOWNTOWN/IAH): (RECORDS SINCE 1889)
1. 22 DAYS – ONGOING AS OF 8/22/2011
2. 14 DAYS – ENDING 7/19/1980
It is difficult to interpret all of our local weather records which come out of the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles, La., probably because they have a much smaller office there. However, the August maximum temperatures for Beaumont/Port Arthur show that, so far, no records seem to be broken as for temperature. I didn’t check the rainfall records because that would have really depressed me.
So yes, it is hotter than a million dollars worth of 2-dollar pistols here. Maybe we have never seen a summer like this one before although perhaps our ancestors did. When we start talking about possible culprits is where the real heat begins. I’m talking about the dreaded “GW” and no I’m not talking about Gee Dubya (W) Bush. I think even he expressed his belief in global warming, to which I refer.
It is getting impossible to have a civil discussion on global warming. The conservative propaganda machine, the best the world has known at least since that fun fellow Dr. Goebbels, has managed to make the GW into one of those controversies such as religion or abortion. If you are not on their side you are on the wrong side, no matter what.
After college is when I first began considering this global warming debate, some 25 years ago. I remember discussing the matter over several pitchers of beer one day with two friends, one with a Ph.D. in chemistry and another who now years later holds a doctorate in geology. I wasn’t really sold on global warming back then because of the obvious cyclical nature of weather. But today I do believe that, yes, we have global warming and that, yes, it is caused by humans. Despite the strides the neo-Goebbelist machine has made, most polls are reflective of this one conducted by Yale and George Mason universities which show a solid majority still believe global warming exists and is man made. A fact sheet from the National Geographic Society also is enlightening both on the subject itself and on the so-called “smoking gun” conservatives used to attempt discrediting major scientists who have researched extensively the topic.
That the right of the right-wing Republicans are so against what the majority of Americans see as a perfectly sensible scientific fact because primarily they have been led to do so in the name of big oil is particularly puzzling when you have big petrodollar people like GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman who acknowledge this “inconvenient truth.” Oh and by the way, the Huntsman Corp. bought Texaco’s chemical unit in Port Neches, in our county, for $850 million back in 1994. Did the Huntsmans contribute to global warming? Is Jon Huntsman Jr. running a Democratic Party campaign in the GOP as a way of saying “sorry” to places burning up by warming caused by his family’s business? I kind of doubt it.
Such a speculation is just that. But there is plenty of room for people to amicably argue about global warming without going nuts. Just make sure you have the air conditioner turned up to Warp Speed as well as your tower fan before doing so.