HILL CITY, Kan. — This town on the parched plains, best known for its bountiful pheasant hunting and museum of oil history, recently earned a new, if unwelcome, distinction — the center of America’s summer inferno.That is the beginning of a story in today's New York Times titled In One Kansas Town, Even Hotter Than Usual
For five days last week, a brutal heat wave here crested at 115 degrees. Crops wilted. Streets emptied. Farmers fainted in the fields. Air-conditioners gave up. Children even temporarily abandoned the municipal swimming pool. Hill City was, for a spell, in the ranks of the hottest spots in the country.
I live in the DC metro area, and am now in my 3rd day without electric power. At the peak, more than half a million (out of 831,000) of Dominion Virginia Power's NoVa customers were without power - but remember, a customer could be a building with 100 apartments. In Arlington, 42,000 of the 59,000 residences were without power. It is better now - Dominion is down to 157,000 customers w/o power. We have access to cooling centers and shelters. Neighbors with power or with generators are generous. At the max our temperature officially hit 104, only 2 degrees below the all-time high.
It is humid here, which makes it worse. Many homes are brick, which retain the heat.
But it is not 115 degrees.
Two more snips from the Times article:
In parts of Georgia and Tennessee, the air quality was so bad over the weekend that officials scrapped their Code Red warnings and dubbed the steamy haze a Code Purple, signaling very unhealthy air.
In Hill City’s 115-degree heat, workers burned themselves picking up metal tools left too long in the sun. Electric and water bills shot up. Tempers frayed, and the overloaded power grid briefly blinked out in parts of town. Little League games were canceled. People’s tomatoes cooked on the vine.Read the article. Realize how many are suffering, often in places with less media coverage.
And remember this - whether or not this specific set of circumstances is directly traceable to human-caused global climate change may not yet be provable, but this is the future for many, ever more likely, and may well be a regular happening in the veryh near future, say within a decade.
Be safe. Help others if you can.