For the month of July, the average high temperature in Chicago is 83.5. So far this year (2010), the average high temp in July is closer to 87. The average last summer was about 80 degrees - one of the coolest July's on record, and certainly part of the reason this month has felt so darn hot!
Last year, I didn't put the air conditioner on once all summer. But last night I slept with the A/C on all night! The combination of heat and humidity was more than I could stand, but 76 degrees sure hit the spot! I think 2005 was the last summer that seemed this hot.
If there is anything to this Global Warming/Climate Change thing (and I believe there is), then these hot summers will become more frequent. That's the point of the two maps at the top of the page - the one on the right shows average temperatures for the eastern US today, and the one on the left shows what they could be in 2050. The take home message is that average temps are predicted to be much higher almost everywhere.
So, our area would be more like southern Missouri? And Northern Wisconsin would be like Central Illinois? And Florida would be mostly under water? Cripes! So in another 40 years, all those Midwestern snowbirds will just stay right here? Sounds like Sun City will need to expand!
I thought a nice winter photo would help me keep my cool while writing about the heat!
I heard someone refer to the "Dog Days" of summer, which got me wondering about where that term came from.
First off, the dog days are generally considered the hottest, most humid days of summer that run sometime between early July and mid-September. But, why are dogs taking the heat for this unpleasant time of year?
After doing some research, it looks like the term originally had nothing to do with the furry, friendly critters known as "man's best friend." Rather, the term arose in reference to the "dog star" in the constellation "Canis Major" (Big Dog).
Do you ever wonder why it snows?
With the regular snow events that we've had since early December, I find myself thinking about snow - where it comes from and why it falls...
Well, the simple explanation is that we get snow when moisture falls from the clouds and the air is below freezing, so the water falls in a frozen state.
Actually, it is so cold up in the clouds that all rain starts out as snow, but then it thaws on the way down.
According to a short article on The Weather Predictor website, ice crystals form in clouds, and as they stick to each other, eventually they become heavy enough that they fall.
If the air is warm enough on the way down, the ice crystals (aka snow flakes) turn into rain drops. If the air temperature is just above freezing, the snowflakes partly melt and we get sleet. And if the air is below freezing, then we get snow!
Now, snow takes up a lot more space than rain. In fact, on average, a 10" snow fall, if melted, would yield about an inch of water. So, when we get a couple inches of snow, and traffic gets all messed up -- cars in the ditch, skidding on the slick pavement -- that is an amount of water equivalent to less than a quarter inch of rain.