A couple of weeks ago, King5.com (Seattle local news) posted a story about an Oklahoma man who fried an egg in his car. The inside of the car reached 181 degrees.
Yeah, for much of the U.S. recently, it’s been really, REALLY hot.
So, last Friday, with the backdrop of an oppressive heat wave over much of the U.S. (south, east, and central U.S.) we ran an open thread on Planet Change asking folks to respond to one simple question:
We posed the question on The Nature Conservancy’s Facebook page as well.
We received over 50 comments on Planet Change and nearly 200 comments on Facebook. Some of the comments describing the heat were really creative.
Here are a few of the observed temps at 3pm EST last Friday: Brooklyn, NY – 104 (with heat index of 111); Washington, NJ – 101; central PA – 99; Nashua, NH – 106; Baltimore, MD – 107 (with heat index of 120); Raleigh, NC – 101 (heat index of 115); Van Buren, AR – 107 (heat index of 115)
Collectively, the open thread painted a very interesting, observational and anecdotal picture of last week’s heat wave and whether folks felt the heat was normal (or not) for where they live.
That said, while we know there is a broad global trend around carbon pollution contributing to a warming planet, we will have to let the science determine to what extent last week’s heat wave is linked to this global trend. Still, what we do know is that this type of extreme heat and drought in parts of the U.S. is consistent with the predicted macro trends and impacts (for example, more frequent and extreme droughts, heat waves, wildfires and floods) associated with a warming planet.
Without further ado, here’s some of our favorite feedback!
From Planet Change:
Mary Ellen (Canada), 3:11pm EST
It’s 27C here which would be 87F. Temps rising to 29C tonight and 31C tomorrow. We’ve had ‘feels like’ 45C this week which is 111F. This is in Canada!
Cory (Prairie Lea, TX), 3:13pm EST
I live in prairie lea, tx. Which is about an hour south of Austin. My thermometer reads 105 as we speak. Feels like a heater outside. Its only rained twice in the last few months. Everyone’s yards have huge cracks in the soil, which seem to be quite deep. Trees are dying, all grass is dead, and were under major burn bands. Its safe to say we’re concerned. We’re used to drought down here. But this is worse
Jay (Brandon, VT), 3:43pm EST
I live in Brandon, Vermont. I don’t remember it ever being this hot in Vermont! I grew up in Nebraska and it was like this almost all summer. The difference was that our house had central AC. Here in Vt. not many folks, including us, have central air in their homes. Whew! According to the temp in the car it was 97 degrees.
Cynthia (Clearwater, Kansas), 4:54pm EST
It’s 108 on my breezeway in the shade right now. And we’re out in the country, away from lots of pavement. (Location near Clearwater, Kansas – south central Kansas.) We are also terribly dry; it’s a much tougher summer than usual for this area…and that’s saying quite a bit!
Dennis (SE Michigan), 3:09pm EST: S E Michigan…. yesterday it hit 100 with a heat index of 110.
Diane (North Texas), 3:11pm EST: 105F in North Texas. Cold tap water is very warm!!!!
Laurie (Frederick, MD), 3:11pm EST: 104 degrees in Frederick MD, but feels like 114. Satan called, he wants his weather back.
Jim (Kansas), 3:15pm EST: HOT and DRY. 105 today and my pond is drying up! The catfish in my pond have ticks on them.
Linda (Tulsa, OK), 3:26pm EST: 104F Tulsa, 29th day in a row over 100 degrees.
Cyd (Cincinnati, OH), 3:26pm EST: Yesterday was 97, with 75% humidity in Cincinnati. Felt like walking in spit. Yuck.
Connie (Middletown, CT), 3:30pm EST: Middletown CT : 103 degrees at 3:30 PM!
Tamlyn (Oklahoma City, OK), 3:34pm EST: 105 in the shade on my back porch in Oklahoma City. Feels like the air when you open your oven door to shove a sheet of cookies in. Saw a video the other day of a guy who cooked an egg on his car dashboard in Okc. Incredible. Never experienced anything like it in my life.
Kathryn (sourthern NJ), 3:37pm EST: South Jersey – hit 107 a couple hours ago; heat index 117. I just went out into the garden to grab a couple of tomatoes and they were almost too hot to hold!
Michael (Illinois), 3:37pm EST: IL is on fire! President Obama your fellow Illinoisans are baking!!! lets get some serious climate change legislation passed!!!
Kathie (Minnesota), 3:45pm EST: We had terrrible heat in MN with 120 degree index along with humidity from Sunday until Wednesday. We finally had relief. We have never had such humidity that kind of heat.
Stephanie (western AR), 5:43pm EST: Extreme western Arkansas – 109, heat index 117. Even HERE, that’s not normal. Last time we had a day under 100 was about three weeks ago. Haven’t cut the grass in six weeks, trees dropping leaves like it was fall already. Global warming? It’s possible… (ya think?)
… and then there was this philosophical question from Joseph: “Planet Change? What is that…a bar?”
But, it wasn’t hot everywhere. Here are some reports from other, less afflicted parts of the country (namely California and the northwest … and, yes, I’m jealous):
Haiku (California), July 25, 11:55am EST: Not very hot in Cali for July. Feels like april. we still have snow on the mountains and the rivers are all running way higher than normal. Its been a cold summer.
Patricia (Sacremento, CA), July 23, 12:06pm EST: This is the stupidist post I’ve ever seen. It’s flippin’ JULY, of course it’s hot! btw: two weeks ago in Sacramento we were wearing long sleeves.
Linn (western Washington State), July 22, 3:33pm EST: 63, high of 68 to come here in western Washington State. But don’t come because it’s really, really ugly here.
Angelique (Seattle, WA), July 22, 3:24pm EST: 65 degree here – beautiful and sunny in Seattle, come on over
Thanks to all who participated in contributing their observational data (and creative descriptions of the heat) last Friday!
Matt Barrett is a blogger and communications manager at The Nature Conservancy
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