Is it Hot Enough for You? (You’re kidding, right?)

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I come from the Northeast, and we are an outspoken bunch.  I didn’t fully understand this until moving south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but we Northeasterners very rarely find a reason to keep from complaining.  We’re quite good at it.  Now that I’m in Houston, and with last week’s “heat wave” that swept up the east coast, I had plenty of eye-rolling moments (I place heat wave inside quotation marks because, well, it’s summer). The number of emails and texts I received from friends and relatives back east complaining about the heat was truly over the top.  Mind you, since I work for ImpactWeather, many of my beloved relations are of the opinion that I somehow have influence over the weather (okay, so I may have been slightly complicit in their overblown beliefs about my personal power).  To complain to a Houstonian about hot weather is akin to bemoaning the lack of landscape color to a resident of Siberia in winter.

When you live in a city where it’s so hot you can taste the air; where you look out at your office fanningparking lot to an endless sea of windshield sun shades – in October; and where the choice of wine you bring as a hostess gift is always red because even a short ride in your car will ruin a white, you really can’t fathom complaints about heat coming from north of 40 degrees latitude.  Still, I commiserated.  I indulged these people who mean so much to me and whom I miss (when they’re not prattling on about the heat).  I assuaged them with promises of relief in sight (which I would of course arrange with my employer-endowed magical powers). I empathized with how hard it must be to simply “be” during those difficult days.  Then I checked the calendar.  Yep, still July.  You know what that means – with the hottest month of the year for the northern hemisphere approaching, I may want to turn off email and change my cell number.

One aspect of the data we provide at ImpactWeather that continually interests me is the service configuration we offer relating to temperature extremes.  We have a client who needs to be alerted when the thermometer drops below a specific point because it signals a change in their bread baking recipe.  Another client is so sensitive to humidity that high levels can actually halt the manufacturing of their intricate and complex product.  We also provide Thermal Work Limit data to a client in the resources industry with personnel who are outdoors constantly, so that they can plan their shifts according to when it’s safe to be in the heat and when it’s not.  I believe, in this fast-paced global economy where downtime simply cannot be tolerated for any longer than it must be, weather departments will increasingly use technology to address temperature extremes and devise plans for working around them.  As for my whiny relatives, I’m less sanguine about a solution, but I adore them nonetheless.

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