Friday, August 03, 2007

Yeah, but it's not a dry heat.

So is telling me that it's mid-80s and sixty-something percent humidity out there. Not horrible, but without a breath of wind, perspiration isn't going to do much in the way of evaporating. Being on the lake, and with the ground wet from a week of rain, the side porch is going to feel like a sauna. Though nowhere near as bad as yesterday; before the rain broke out, it was a 90/90 (temp/humidity) day on the porch, and let me tell you, that'll take the starch right out of you.

A couple of summers ago, my friend Byron and I were visiting Art in Terlingua, TX. It wasn't but 10 or 11 o'clock in the A.M., we were standing on the porch, and I asked Byron (who hails from parts even stickier in the summer than the Tennessee valley) how hot he thought it was.

"I don't know; it doesn't feel all that hot. If I were going by how comfortable I felt, I'd say probably high seventies, low eighties..."

I squinted at the thermometer. "Says here that it's 98 degrees. In the shade. And we got a ways to go 'til noon."

"Yeah, but it's a dry heat."

I had never appreciated what that phrase meant before, really.

On the drive back east, we made Houston the first night. Opening the truck door and walking across the parking lot on the way into a Waffle House with its windows fogged with condensation reintroduced me to the summer sauna of the South. I've thought about that day on the porch in the Texas desert every summer day since then.


the pistolero said...

I live about 90 miles east of Houston, and I can tell you, it's much worse down here on the coast, especially when those showers come in off the Gulf, it rains a little bit and then the sun comes out. Quite uncomfortable, to say the least. I've always been interested to see what a "dry heat" like that really feels like...

LabRat said...

Grew up in Phoenix. Lived for awhile in New Orleans.

I'll take an extra twenty degrees in the dry any time. Though I'm always still a little surprised when I go home and my liquids consumption suddenly triples.

Rabbit said...

PVC rusts in Houston. I hear they're talking about setting up a Venus climate simulation lab there. Outdoors.

Here in DFW, with something like 17 inches of rain in the past month and a half, our humidity is getting interesting again. Of course, I grew up not trusting air I couldn't drink. Oddly enough, the hygrometer on my desk shows that it's at a level incompatible with all the high-end electronic equipment in the building. Higher inside the building than outside, in fact. When they were doing some construction and had the place open to the environment a couple of months ago we had condensation on everything.

SWMBO's mom is coming in this weekend from 29 Palms. I bet she won't set foot outside once she gets here.


Todd said...

I figure we live in the South, we choose to put up with the humidity. I get tired of hearing the Yanks complaining "Oh, it's sooooooo huuuumid". If ya don't like it, the road goes North.

GeorgeH said...


I'm trying to convince my SO she will be just as happy in South East Texas as she is under the redwoods in California, and this does not help.

Anonymous said...

I'm from (born and raised) west-central Alabama (Gulf moisture combining with inland heat. yea!). And oh, I grew up on the shallow side of a lake that would get hot enough to cook the muscles when the water got low. Every summer I used to visit relatives in the western states. They thought I was nuts literally running around the desert during the middle of July. I'm surprised they didn't have me committed when I said, "It might be in the triple digits, but it feels like the low 80's to me. I mean, sweat actually works here."

Was in New York City back in '98 (at least I think it was '98) when they had a "heat wave". It was in the mid-90's and people were dropping dead. Still can't figure how they won that war...

Anonymous said...

Yankee's ARE the southerners, as a Canuck, all I can say is the problem with the north road is that the bugs get REAL bad in summer.

Seriously, dry heat is fine, you just ahve to remember to drink a couple of gallons every day.

I was in Tunisia some years ago, 60C in the shade with a mild wind blowing off the Sahara, unbelievable hot. Now I know why the local tribes wrap up like it's the arctic.

Anonymous said...

I assure you, the Gulf Coast can match your bugs. There's nothing like pulling over and having to clean the windshield ever other mile...

Gregg said...

Well Tam, if you ever decide to relocate to the dry heat, we would be happy to have you here in the desert of Arizona.

Let's see, there's a world class NRA outdoor range 10-15 minutes (Ben Avery) a REALLY nice indoor range 15 minutes east (They ask you to not use .50 bmg, but anything less powerful is ok.), mountain 30- 60 minutes away. Hmm, Vegas is 6 hours north, and LA is 6 hours West, oh and did I mention the proliferation of brewpubs and microbrewies?

I'm just saying.

Yes, there is a reason I moved back to the valley of the sun.

Don Gwinn said...

I don't live in the South, but I do live in the center of bazillions of acres of corn and beans. Corn is the worst.

We spent some time at the library today to get out of the worst of it, but now it's time to head upstairs and sand dryway. Which is why I'm sitting here reading blogs. :)

Tam said... is full of it.

Thermometers out there all reading 89-91, and if that's any less than about 75% humidity, I'll eat my hat.

Tam said...

...and of course I decided to wear a black tee shirt today.

Anonymous said...

Depends on what the dew point is. That's what's really the bugger, not necessarily the humidity.

LabRat said...

...and of course I decided to wear a black tee shirt today.

Given what started with your bikini picture, white would have been suicide.

kaylee said...

Nice and cool up here. Right comfy, you might say. :)

Anonymous said...

Currently the weather in west Houston is:

98% humidity
108 heat index
1.32" of rain today.
38.74" of rain this year.

Courtesy of my Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station.

Seriously having lived and worked in West Texas and New Mexico and then growing up in New Mexico and Arizona. I will take the dry heat over humidity any day.

As I told my boss today. "what idiot but the center of the worlds oil industry in a swamp?"

Mark said...

Milady Tam, Ilive about 35 miles north of Corpus a good hard stones throw from the gulf. I have 2 porches one front, one back. Anytime you are in the area you are always welcome to sit on my porch, just don't midn the 7 kids trying to climb all over ya though. :)

Rusty said...

For those of you in the South (and especially the guy so proud to be in Arizona)...good luck when peak oil hits and your A/C costs $200/day to cool your house.

phlegmfatale said...

You should probably move to Texas, Tam.

Tam said...


Thanks for the Trendy Propaganda, but your great grandkids will be dead before "Peak Oil" hits, and it won't have much effect on your great-great's Mr. Fusion Holistic Air Comforting Machine.

How ever did the human race survive "Peak Whale Oil" and still keep our lanterns lit?

Tam said...

...oh, and even if your masturbatory luddite fantasies come true, rusty, if I don't run my A/C in the summer, I won't die of hypothermia.

What's the R-value of your Yankee hovel in February?

Desertrat said...

Terlingua's having a weird "summer". A lot of showers, and high temperatures anywhere from ten to twenty degrees below the usual. The high last Tuesday was 78F.

Our humidity has been running around 70%. I'm gonna change my name to Mildew Muldoon and go to raising mushrooms!


Anonymous said...


Peak oil probably has occurred or will occur this year. My bet is it has occurred already but we just have not figured it out yet. Most of us majors posted our 2nd quarter stockholder reports and decline curves are eating our lunch. If it weren't for the high prices for oil, my 401k would have taken a nose dive because of the drop in production. Shareholders don't like it when your company is losing 10% of your production per quarter. In the long run, I don't think any of us were able to keep ahead of the decline curve.

Go hit google and see what we all did. For example:

I believe that most of us are down a few to many percentage points in production. And with our friendly OPEC not able to crank up production (they are basically flat out right now and there is not the labor or steel to fix the problem in the short term) we have a problem. Now add to that the fact that many of the opec countries are lying about the EUR (Estimate Ultimate Recovery) meaning reserves you have a problem.

We survived peak whale oil by switching to rock oil or "conventional" oil. I don't see a similar change occurring quickly to an alternative energy source. I could be wrong, but given all the other things you can do with oil, I am not worried about it. It has a great deal of value beyond just making your car go or cooking your dinner.

Oh yeah, and remember the old saying "drive 80 and freeze a yankee".

Ian Argent said...

Oh for goodness sake - the reason we have a trough in refined POL production has nothign to do with peak oil, and everything ot do with the Oil Crash in the early '80's - none of the oil co's want to invest in increased production that would only be profitable if oil prices stay where they are. They bin there dun that 20 years ago.

And once we start running out of easy-to-reach oil, it becomes profitable to do oil shale and coal-to-oil. And some bright boys are working on a process to convert bioresidue to honest-to-goodness oil (not alcohol).

BTW - you do realize your electric cars are going to have to be nuke-powered, right?

B&N said...

Tam at 12:31 and :34...Damn, that shit smarts, and I wasn't even the target.

Peak Oil, the Bullshit Bogeyman of the Greenik, Humans-back-to-the-Cave, FarLeft, Communistfelating, GlobalVillage-preaching Idiots.

Can't wait for their worst dreams to come true, since law-and-order will be one of the first things to get thrown out of the wagon in the "civilized" world.

Anyone taking bets on who's gonna be up a shit creek after that happens?

Good for him that it won't.

Joseph said...

The rain has been keeping things relativly cool here in San Antonio...unil this week. Now we are getting into the 90's and the ground is baking out...not pleasant, but not unexpected either. But I will trade the hot for the sub-zero temps I grew up with up north.

Gregg said...

Wow, you must be right since we can't use a source like solar to generate electricity. Especially not here in the "Valley of the Sun".

Oh wait, we do use solar power here, maybe we won't have it quite so bad if Peak Oil actually happens.

Anonymous said...

Its not the heat that gets me, its mildew madness.


BobR said...

Very on point for the old north vs. south "sustainability" bull:
one and two.

I suspect the south would get by without oil a whole lot better than the north.