July 06, 2022
With the temperatures slated to be over 100F (37.7C) all this week, Melissa sent me a text from the city Fire Department asking dog owners to be aware of the effect of heat coming from asphalt roads on your dog’s paws. As little as 77F (25C) could raise the asphalt to 125F (51.6C) and 87F (30.5C) to a scorching 143F (61.5C). The suggestion was to put your hand on the roadway for 8 seconds to see what your dog will feel before you walk. I dutifully felt the pavement before I took Zena on our walk. I was surprised how much the heat had affected the neighborhood lawns. Most of the residents cut their lawns short, and the heat had turned the beautiful green lawns of last week into dry dormant lawns this week. Even the yard display I mentioned for the Fourth seemed to have been affected, as the inflatable Sam and Eagle were lying flat on the grass. The heat advisories this week are not just from the high temperatures, but from the heat Index.
When I looked online, I found the heat index, or the “feels like” temperature is the way the human body feels the temperature in the air. The index takes into consideration humidity and wind speed, then calculates the heat the human body “feels”. On a windy day, you can feel cooler even if the temperature does not change. During a humid summer day, you may feel more uncomfortable than on a hotter but drier day. While forecasts state the temperature of the air, they are now likely to consider factors that influence what it feels like outside. The heat index measures the comfort of the body during a hot day. When the body is too hot, it perspires to get rid of excessive heat and cool itself off. In a more humid environment, perspiration does not evaporate as quickly and cooling the body becomes complicated. When the temperature tops 100F the humidity causes the heat index to rise, and we have a heat advisory.
Southern summers are notorious for high temperatures and 100F days are normal. Like Zena’s paws you would not dare to walk outside without shoes, leading to the saying, “It is so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk!” According to the Library of Congress, it is possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk, but not probable. Eggs need to reach a temperature of 158F (70C) to cook through, and sidewalks can usually only get up to 145F (62.7C). That does not keep the city of Oatman, Arizona, from holding an annual Sidewalk Egg Frying Contest as part of their Fourth of July celebration since 1983. The 150-person town usually has around 20 contestants vying to fry an egg in 15 minutes or less in front of 1,500 spectators. Contestants use anything from aluminum foil to magnifying glasses to homegrown solar devices to create “the most edible egg.” The rules are simple and include two eggs per team and the freedom to use any kind of utensil, or pan, or mechanism to see if they can cook the eggs with solar power in 15 minutes or less time. The participants are also supposed to preserve their eggs from being eaten by the wild burros. Prizes and medals are given for the youngest contestant, absolute showmanship or best costume, best cooking contraption, and the contestant who’s traveled the farthest.
THOUGHTS: When I watched the weather last night I had to laugh as the forecaster told of the cold front that was going to come through over the weekend. The temperatures are predicted to be over 100F (103F-104F) with a “feels like” temperature of 110F to 115F range through the end of the week. When the cold front rolls in on Friday it is predicted to drop weekend temperatures down to 99F. This did not strike me as much of a cold front. Just as the heat index determines relative heat, the cold front is relative to the rest of the week. Our view of the differences between the world’s peoples and cultures is also relative. What is considered odd in Asia may be the norm in North America, and vice versa. It is when we can experience those differences that makes life fun. That requires us to participate with others. Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.