Hot Days To Come - Dealing With Heat

David Trammel's picture

It rained last night here in St Louis, bring a break to a period of intense heat. Saturday's high was expected at around 105 degrees. Still living without a functional air conditioner, I used a variety of methods to deal with the heat, mostly helped by the fact I work on third shift, and so was up and working when the temperature was the least, and then returning to a home with a cool basement where I could seek refuge and sleep.

Even then the heat saps so much from you, all you want to do is come home, take a cold shower and go to sleep. That's why no recent posts from me.

Some here didn't have that luxury. Less than a mile from my work place is a City run small medium security prison. Family of the prisoners held protests outside of the prison on Friday, which shut down the local road and provoked a large police turn out, when it was learned the prison had no air conditioning.

Also the downtown area experienced problems when a large water main burst and the lack of water forced large building to shut off their air conditioning.

I read but forgot to bookmark an article which discussed climate change and how the increase in temperatures will make the occurrence of "critical heat days" happen more often by the end of the century. Those are days that the combined heat and humidity raises the felt temperature above 100 degrees. That's the point that human bodies can no longer cool themselves via sweat.

It also showed maps via modeling that suggests that the southern regions of the US will experience heat waves like this throughout the Summer, making it impossible to live there without man made ways to cool. If resource depletion spikes the price of electricity out of most people's means then look for a slow migration out of southern states and into the north.

Forget about the equatorial countries like Brazil. By century's end humans may end up being a species confined to the upper latitudes. Or like owls, night hunters.

I'm just happy it rained.


ADDED: Read this:

ClareBroommaker's picture

Even before this intense heat spell, there were a couple water main breaks in my neighborhood. The water people said there were 16 one day! We did not lose water all together, but lost pressure. I think we are as likely to need our emergency store of water in summer as any other time.

Did your basement stay cool over these last few days? It was 108 "officially" yesterday. Yesterday afternoon mine was 73 F and only 36% humidity, according to my hygrometer. I'm skeptical about that because it smells humid down there all the time now. Seventy-three is actually sweater zone for me if I am sedentary.

We are using air conditioning, but being thrifty with it so that if you just move, you get sweaty. I haven't washed any clothes or sheets in a week because the effort is just too hot. Usually do it buckets in the bathtub. Could move down to the basement to do it, but did not want to raise the humidity down there in case I needed to retreat to the basement for daily living.

My mate has been doing the cooking outside. That helps, the indoors, for sure! He cooks enough for several meals and then we are happy to eat it cold. Was surprised to see how much I like cold mixed vegetables.

Weeds are going crazy in the gardens. Peppers are wilting every day, but keep producing.

Just asked my mate what he thinks about turning off the gas water heater in the basement.

David Trammel's picture

I didn't realize it hit so high but then that's a side effect of having nether a TV, for local coverage, and a smart phone with the Internet, with my nose in it for news, lol.

Yes the basement has stayed cool through the recent heat wave but as you mentioned is humid and smells a little moist. I have done a few loads of laundry though, which I'm sure contributes to the humidity. I have minor alergies, which don't seem to be affected by it, so I don't think the humidity and mold is that high.

I usually do the wash as soon as i get home, then wait to dry it until I get up at 9pm. This gives the basement all night to cool again, since I have no way to vent the dryer outside. Useful in winter, not so in summer.

Seventy degrees or so sounds about right. I have a small fan I let run on my body as I sleep and I often have to cover up with a light blanket or I get cold.

Friday night I actually had to work from 11p to 3am, and when I got home the house was still a bit warm. I should set up a fan in the window to blow the warm air out in the early morning while I sleep, but haven't. I got up again around 1pm and while it was hot, it wasn't that uncomfortable.

Of course I was sitting in my underwear under the ceiling fan, lol.

One thing, my cat usually sleeps at the top of the basement stairs on the landing where its cool. Saturday afternoon, after I'd gone back downstairs for a nap, she finally decided to join me. There is an old office chair down there, and I woke up to find her napping on it beside my bed.

I'm going to spend some time tomorrow morning (Tuesday) seeing how my garden faired. I think the underground watering system I have in the beds really helped. Friday morning I gave every bed a good 20-30 minutes of water via the pipes. A quick check shows some tomato splitting but except for the smaller planters, most everything looks like it survived.