Sunday, September 7, 2014

Are You Ready for Fall?

Last winter I was caught up in the “I’m not going to complain about summer” movement. Yup I promised not to complain about the summer heat. I chose the wrong year to jump on that bandwagon; my friend Jim, who is a local television meteorologist, told a bunch of us over breakfast that this summer was the sixth hottest on record. Yikes, whassup with that!

When I thought about what Jim said, I thought, wait a minute, we did not have that many days with temperatures over 100 degrees and certainly not in the 110 range we have seen in the past. It dawned on me that the reason for the record was not the high temperatures but the daily low temperatures. So I asked Jim if that was the case. He confirmed my theory. The relative heat of the summer is calculated by the average of the daily mean temperature of each day, which is the low plus the high divided by 2. So when the lows this summer averaged several degrees over the normal lows it made the summer hotter than normal.

Looking back over this summer, I realized that it felt warmer in the morning as I went out to the street to get the newspaper and then again the short trip to the car to go to the studio or the office. It also seemed that the days that it felt like you had to cut the air with a knife just to breathe it came more often than other years.

Growing up in Jacksonville there was many days like that, not necessarily that high in temperatures but with air that felt like a sauna. The humidity was the key factor. But, there was always a sea breeze in Florida while a breeze in Columbia during the summer is so rare that when it happens, it becomes the topic of the conversation. Summers in Central South Carolina always seem harsher than those in Coastal Florida.

It is not just my imagination either. Last month in a conversation with Joe, another local television weather guy, and his wife Peggy, she related that when they moved to Columbia from Jacksonville that she thought that Columbia was the hottest place she ever lived. Peggy grew up in Southern Georgia not far from where I grew up in Northern Florida, so we were used to the weather in that area. It was hotter and dryer here than there for sure. In fact, one of my strongest memories was the feeling that I could not drink enough water the first month after I started college up here.

So, this winter I’m not going to fall into the trap of taking the pledge of not complaining about the heat in the summer. I’m going to complain about the winter and for sure I’m going to complain about the summer. It is a well proven fact that the older you get, the more you talk about the weather. Heck, some folks even call The Weather Channel “Old Folks MTV”! I’m going to claim my rights to talk about the weather any way I want. If it’s cold, you bet I will be complaining about it and wishing for summer. If it’s hot, I’ll be making comparisons with the air outside and the back screen door to hell. But in the meantime, in just a few weeks – from mid October until Christmas there is some glorious weather coming our way. What do they call it? It’s on the tip of my tongue. Oh YEAH, it is called “Fall”! Bring it! Oh MY!

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