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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Heat Is On

Those of you who like me complained about last winter's cold temperatures are going to get another chance to soak up some extreme warmth over the next few days. This weekend we will see some temperatures over at the beach in the low to mid nineties. That is about as hot as it normally gets around here. In fact in the few years that we have been living here along the Southern Outer Banks, we have only seen temperatures that high a few times. You know that it is going to be a hot spell when the nighttime temperatures barely get below eighty. It is usually August before that happens, but this has been a very warm summer so far in many places. The only good news about the heat is that this spell is only going to last a few days. To help matters even more, our temperatures have been reasonable for the past few days. We even had a mostly rainy day on Sunday. Our recent weather will help us get over this hot spell.
First, since we are just now going into a new hot spell, the area waters have cooled back to a reasonable level. The unofficial surf temperature reading Tuesday morning was 81 degrees Fahrenheit. As I can tell you from my wading around in the ocean waters Tuesday afternoon, 81 degrees is very pleasant temperature, but it will still cool you off. I suspect we have the winds to thank for keeping the waters a little cooler than they might be.

Of course the winds have made playing in the ocean a little more challenging. Most people I saw playing in the surf today were staying close to shore. That is always a good plan when the surf is stirred up, and the winds are blowing. Still it is nice to have a world of waves when it gets this hot.

We will only be blessed with cooling winds for another day. Starting Thursday the predictions are for much lighter winds which will come at the same time as the hotter temperatures.

The only real ways to escape the heat when it gets this hot are to get in the water or be on the water and anchored where you can get a good sea breeze. Aside from that, it will be a good time to stay in the air conditioning during the heat of the day.

Those of us who live here adjust our lives for the heat. If we want to work outside, we do it early in the morning. If you can finish a chore by 8:30 AM, you will face a lot less stress than if you finish just before noon. On a hot day, if I want to go to the beach, I usually go after 5 PM when the worst of the heat is over.

By Thursday afternoon, you can expect the sand on the beaches to have warmed up enough to require either sandals or some fancy dancing to get to the water. It really is amazing what water can do for you. Often after mowing our yard, I will take a shower and by the end of the shower, I have practically turned any hot water off. In the summertime, our water comes out of the faucets fairly warm.

After the quick shower has cooled me, I will often walk across the cul de sac and take advantage of the swimming pool that we have in Bluewater Cove. With the recent cooling, the pool is very pleasant temperature. A quick dip in the pool is a great way to cool your body further.

That usually works except in August. Then I have been known to get in the car and head straight to the beach. I consider the ultimate cooling experience to be an ocean wave hitting me right in the middle of my back. I can almost guarantee that will take the heat right out of your body.

Summer is one of those things that we long for in winter. Then sometimes the reality of the heat is a little intense. I actually have adjusted fairly well to the heat considering I lived in Canada for many years. There in Atlantic Canada our home did not even have air conditioning and a jump in the ocean waters would likely turn you blue.

One of my tricks for hot weather is that I often have a cooler full of ice in my car. Twenty pounds of ice makes a big difference when you need a cold drink or have some groceries in the car. The thought of it just makes me feel cooler. Of course another great cooling secret is to enjoy an ice cold piece of a Bogue Sound watermelon.

I do take some consolation from the fact that starting just a few miles inland, temperatures will be much higher than ours here along the coast. While the heat in Emerald Isle will likely peak at 93 or 94 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, Raleigh is supposed to hit 98 on Wednesday and face three straight days of 99 degrees after that. That is seriously hot.

I am thankful for whatever cooling Bogue Sound and the ocean might provide over the next few days. It will be a time when making some intelligent decisions about when to be outside will be important. Likely the more of your body you have in the water, the more comfortable you will be. Still there are lots of great things to do at the beach even in the heat.

It will also be a good time to think back to February when we had some snow all over the area. At least the picture of the snow will provide some mental relief. 

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