Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hot Enough For You?

Summer officially started this week, and that's obvious here in the Phoenix area.  Our high today was 111 degrees.  Temperatures this week may reach the "heat alert" level.  For those not familiar with Arizona-speak, that means 113 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.  At the same time we're experiencing record-low humidity and high winds.  No wonder the state seems to be engulfed in wildfires.

In other parts of the country, people may take cold showers to cool off in hot weather.  That's not an option here; the ground through which our water pipes run is so warm in the summer that our faucets put out hot water even when "Cold" is turned all the way on.  Newcomers regularly assume their plumbing has been installed incorrectly, but no - the only cold water here for the next few months will come from our refrigerators.

We depend on our air conditioners during worst of the heat.  For small children, the elderly, and the ill, air conditioning may be literally a life-saver.  If the electricity goes out in part of the Valley of the Sun, residents flee to the chilly malls and movie theaters in other neighborhoods.  Fortunately two separate electric companies with plenty of redundancy serve the greater Phoenix area, so complete loss of power to the Valley is almost impossible.  If the inconceivable happened and the electrical grid here went down many of us would probably leap into our (air-conditioned) cars and head en masse for California like steel-clad lemmings.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not really complaining.  As wearing as the heat can be, it's a fair trade for never having to shovel snow or drive on black ice.

"But at least it's a dry heat." ~Arizonan truism

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