Monday, June 10, 2013

BUT IT'S A DRY HEAT

It's time to address the issue of the heat in the Great Sonoran Desert, specifically in Phoenix, Arizona, where I live.

I walked the three blocks to our mailbox today to mail a disc back to Netflix.  And I walked back.  So that's about six blocks.  It was 105 outside and I was warm when I got back to the sanctuary of fans and air conditioning in my house.  But it really wasn't that bad (he said).  

Now let me point out that the relative humidity at the time was (wait for it) . . . 4 percent.  That's FOUR PERCENT!  The big black grackles striding around in yards and streets were doing a lot of complaining but I wasn't.  I noticed several were near my front yard where the sprinkler had been running.  One of them let out a blood curdling scream as I stepped outside.  He must have thought I was going to scare them away from the moisture.

Phoenix gets an average annual rainfall of about 8 and a third inches.  That's annual, as in the whole year.  The wettest month is March with 1.07 inches of rain.  The dryest month?  You had to ask, didn't you.  This one.  June, which averages 9 one-hundredths of an inch.  That's why we're all waiting for July and August.  Nearly an inch falls in each of those two months when the curiously named Monsoon Season blows in.

Now most people think of the Monsoon as a drenched period of time when it rains constantly.  Actually that's not true here.  The monsoon means that the wind direction shifts from the southwest to the southeast.  That brings in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, apparently.  But it also can bring the mighty Haboobs, which are humongous dust storms. Actually the start of the monsoon season in Phoenix usually brings the dust storms first and later on the moisture.

The National Weather Service, in its infinite wisdom, decided back in 2008 that the monsoon season will start every year on June 15th and end on September 15th.  Never mind low pressure and high pressure systems.  Before that the local t.v. weathermen used to tell us that the season began when there were three consecutive days when the dew point reached 55 degrees or higher.  (Actually some of them probably still tell us that.  Take THAT, National Weather Service.)

Well so much for our science lesson for today.

I'm sure that many of you have been criticized for keeping cluttered, messy areas where you spend most of your time.  Yup.  Me too.  But I stopped all that (well most of it)  (O.K. some of it) when I posted a sign in my room.  As the old Catalyst's public service for today, I post a picture of it here for all of you to see.  I can't give you permission to print it for your room because I bought it at an art sale.  But what you do on your own time is between you and whatever you're calling your moral conscience these days.



Of course you could do the right thing and contact the artist at LynnKessinger@gmail.com to purchase your own copy.

13 comments:

  1. Oh how I wish our humidity was consistently (in the summer at least) 4%. In my college days at Texas Tech in west Texas the humidity was very low and you're right...the heat didn't seem bad at all. Now I can step outside and before I can get the door locked I'm sweating. Yuck!

    Stay cool. ;)

    S

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    1. I suffered through nearly two years of that humidity in Austin before I gave up and moved back to Arizona in 1993.

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  2. I applaud your six block high in 105 temp. That is hot, even if it is dry. My oven at 105 is hot and dry, but I would not attempt to walk in it.
    We've had a little humidity over here by the coast, and it has been uncomfortable. We both wonder how we ever made it in those hot and humid Indiana Julys, Augusts and sometimes as early as June.

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    1. I know whereof you speak. I could never handle the humid heat anymore. I'm just tolerating the dry heat until October.

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  3. Our son lived in Mesa for a few years and I was surprised to learn about the monsoon season. I understand flash flooding can be a problem.

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    1. Stephen, it depends on how near you live to a flood plain. Back in the 1970's, we had two or three Hundred Year Floods in consecutive years. It made national news and our far flung friends and relatives were concerned about us. But we lived several miles from the river basin and life was as normal as ever. Flash floods out in the desert, though, can be dangerous because a normally dry wash can be full of raging water almost instantly if there is a thunderstorm upstream. Plus, in the city, there's always some dummy who ignores the warning signs and drives right into floodwaters.

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  4. I hate humidity. Dry heat I can live with.

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  5. My dad was gone to the beach for a week & when he got back home (western NC) there was 5 inches of water in his rain gauge. They're feeling a little bit wet around there!

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    1. We wouldn't know what to do with all of that rain!

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  6. The older I get, the less tolerant I am to heat. If I had to walk six blocks in 105 degree heat, I would then have to have an expensive ride to the hospital. I guess I'll just have to stay up here where it was 91 for the high, which is still too hot for me. I am now dreaming of Alaska once again.

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    1. Yes, those Alaska dreams do tend to comfort one at this time of year.

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  7. Thank you for the nature lesson, Stephen! No, not about the climate. I now know what 'grackles' are - with help from Mr Google!

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