Is there ever a heat index at the South Pole?
Goodness...how is this possible? Here we are, on the 25th day of July...2019 keeps moving along at a much faster pace than necessary...
A week from today, August will make what most likely will be pretty much of an unheralded arrival. For those of us here at The Paragraph Factory, August brings the start of a busy schedule which might slow down at about 5:23 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2020. Maybe.
August’s arrival will be accompanied by the Cobden Peach Festival, the Union County Fair in Anna and the start of a new school year, which also will bring with it the high school football season in Southern Illinois.
Before we know it, trick-or-treaters will be at our front door, the Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie will be on the table and Christmas decorations will be in the stores. If they aren’t already. By the way, I think you only have about 152 shopping days until Christmas.
Your writer was hoping that by the time you got to read this, the temperature would be at least a little bit cooler, ‘cause it sure wasn’t very comfortable in the Great Outdoors last Friday afternoon.
At the time this journalistic masterpiece was being created, the temperature in our little corner of the world was something like 92 degrees. Of course, from what I had seen and heard, much of the country was broiling in the summer heat last Friday...and Saturday...and Sunday...
To add to the summer heat adventure, the National Weather Service had issued an Excessive Heat Warning for those of us who call Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky home.
The weather service explained that an Excessive Heat Warning meant that “a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures” would occur. A combination of high temperatures and high humidity was expected to create a “dangerous situation.”
Heat index temperatures in the region were expected to be something like 105 degrees in Cape Girardeau and Paducah.
Folks were being advised to reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning or evening hours. That meant that I had to immediately stop thinking about this column and to immediately stop typing said column. Thinking and typing are about as strenuous as it gets for those of us generating all of that fake news.
Speaking of fake news, here isn’t some: the weather service website included a listing for “Winter: Snow.” “Expected Snowfall” for the period from 7 a.m. on July 18 through 7 a.m. on July 21 was 0 inches...in Anna-Jonesboro...Vienna...Carbondale...Cairo...Cape Girardeau...Paducah...etc...etc...
It was reassuring to know that I would not have to worry about icy roads on the way home last Friday evening.
That would not have been the case if my commute somehow involved a journey along a road in Antarctica last Friday, where the temperature was 77 degrees...below zero...early in the morning.
The scorching heat and hot soup in the air humidity got me to wondering how hot Southern Illinois was in comparison to some other places in our solar system.
Take, for example, the moon, which was getting a lot of attention during the past week. Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s one small step for man might have been baking in a 260-degree temperature when the sun was shining on the moon last Friday. Things would have gotten a little better during the night, when the temperature dropped to 280 degrees...below zero. At least your ice cream wouldn’t melt.
The weather on the planet Mars might have been a little bit more comfortable. Just a little, though.
NASA’s InSight mission Martian lander is sending daily weather reports from the red planet back to Earth. On July 12, the high temperature made it all the way to 13 degrees below zero, which is what it felt like while I was out for a walk one evening last winter. The low temperature on Mars on July 12 was 148 degrees...below zero. A couple of extra quilts might have been a good idea.
Road trips to the planets Mercury and Venus would be even more interesting, and might involve having a lot of ice in the cooler during the day.
(For your road trip planning purposes: Mercury is somewhere around 48,000,000 miles from Earth. If your car, maybe a Mercury to go to Mercury, gets 30 miles per gallon, that would be something like 1,600,000 gallons of gasoline for the trip. At about $3 a gallon, that would be about $48,000,000 to drive to Mercury. Not counting snacks.)
On Mercury, the high temperature during the day might get up to about 800 degrees. And the average temperature on Venus is something like 864 degrees. That would only be about 775 degrees warmer than it was last Friday afternoon in Union County. Maybe the humidity wouldn’t be all that bad on Venus, so it wouldn’t feel so hot.
(P.S. Mother Nature gave us a break early this week. Rain, as if we haven’t seen enough of that, was accompanied by cooler temperatures on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday were expected to be pretty nice. Hope so.)