I'm Right Again Dot Com
A new commentary every Wednesday - June 28, 2017
"EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT THE WEATHER, BUT NO ONE DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT" - Mark Twain
All temperatures herein are based upon a scale calculated by German physicist Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, about the year 1700.
It was 86 degrees at daybreak today in Tucson, Arizona—two degrees lower than yesterday at the same time. By midday Monday, the ambient temperature had risen to 102 and our valiant reefer was pulsating along with hardly a pause. Last week, Tucson endured two record breaking, 116-degree days, while the folks in our State Capitol of Phoenix had temps flirting above 120. Tucson is about 1,000 feet higher than Phoenix. That helps, somewhat.
Ask any Arizonan if four degrees is noticeable. Hardly. It's the difference in humidity between the two major population centers that makes one want to sit as close as possible to the inrush of cooler air from refrigeration or "swamp-box" evaporative cooler. Much of the Phoenix metro area is underlain with a system of huge canals and pipes, carrying water from the Salt River. Millions of homes have depressed lawns, into which water is brought weekly by duct or ditch. The average humidity in Phoenix is 79%. The humidity at mid-afternoon in Tucson is only 9% presently and we've seen it lower on these very dry days in June and July.
The big difference in average July temperatures in the two cities is brought about by monsoon storms. Already, a darkening on the southern horizon promises cooling, blessed but often rambunctious rainstorms coming from the Pacific and across the northern Mexican state of Sonora and thence into Arizona.
So why the scary title for this essay? Because the kind of heat we are suffering is often fatal to man and beast. Not so much the wild things. It always amazes me when I see a javalina foraging or a tiny line of "golf-ball" size quail following their parents, but come to think of it, this is usually during the early morning hours.
When the temperature hits 100 degrees, it can be a matter of minutes, not hours, before a human who is not in the shade and without ample hydration succumbs. The evaporation factor is astounding. One cannot swill down those little 16 to 24 ounce bottles of water rapidly enough. If you don't have sufficient protection on your head, your brain will be fricasseed. Else, you had better be standing in water up to your neck, and have a good hat on.
I hope you don't find this amusing. This month, a father and son, both mature, healthy specimens, died a short distance from a spigot at the entrance to a local trail. This is not some freak happenstance. The Southern Arizona Rescue Association has been called out on 67 rescues so far this year, many of them due to heat exhaustion. I covered a story once where a young lady came to Tucson in August to fill a teaching position and went out by the swimming pool to enjoy a couple of beers. When after an hour or so, motel employees decided she needed to be warned of sunburn, they found that she had died.
No one wants to take photos of the bodies arriving each week at the Pima County Medical Examiner's office. Although the number of illegal border crossers apprehended by the Border Patrol in the Tucson Sector is down by twenty percent, the morgue is well on its way to processing 125 to 150 bodies by Christmas. Every effort is made through the Mexican Consulate to see that all of these remains are returned for a proper burial in their birthplace. Sadly, many times this is impossible, and the remains are interred forever in El Norte, as they most often term the USA.
-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken
The life of a narcotics trafficker for one of Mexico's brutal drug cartels. Available in paperback or for any computer, including Kindle eReader—Only from http://www.amazon.com (Enter "miguel: narcotraficante" in the Amazon.com search window). Sample it free.
Shop Amazon Fire TV - Say it. Watch it.
Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries
Learn About the Savings with Prime from Amazon.com