Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

July 4, 2013

The cold, hard facts of summer's heat

Yogi Berra nailed it: “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”

It takes some humor to get through the weather pattern that has long outstayed its welcome.

With temperatures stuck in the 80s and 90s, gardens need extra attention. But just as the hose is being coiled after a good soaking, the sky opens up and soon there are puddles at every turn.

The windows up, windows down debate takes place daily over many breakfast tables. Dress for the beach, but bring an umbrella.

Even National Weather Service meteorologists were shaking their heads. What’s needed is a good strong cold front to break this pattern more suited to mid-August than summer’s arrival.

But they have been scarcer than nights cool enough for a blanket.

“I haven’t found one yet,” a meteorologist with the NWS joked last week, “but we’ll keep looking.”

America’s Southwest is gripped by a deadly heat wave that has shattered decades-old records. The temperature reached 117 on Sunday in Las Vegas, which averaged 91.5 degrees in June, making it the warmest June on record, according to the NWS. On Saturday, when the temperature reached 115 in Las Vegas, a man was found dead in his un-air conditioned home.

Temperatures also soared over 100 in much of California, Utah and Arizona.

The heat wave was even threatening the world record of 134 degrees set in Death Valley, Calif., in 1911. It was 129 there Sunday.

Meteorologists blame a dome of high pressure that has pushed the jet stream off course and into Canada, locking out cooler air from the north.

They predict at least several more days of punishing heat.

Later June temperatures haven’t been as extreme here in New England, generally hitting highs in the low 80s. But high humidity has made it feel worse, and the region has been pounded by a series of thunderstorms. Monday afternoon, a rare tornado warning threw a scare into the Merrimack Valley.

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