August is the new July

 This was a long-range forecast from nine days ago:

I’ve noticed for a while that I deal better with hot temperatures these days than I used to. Ten years ago, or more, I would personally start getting very uncomfortable any time temperatures climbed above the 80 degree mark. Over the last few years, that’s started to shift: I may not like 80s, but I no longer find the low 80s debilitating. I can function outside when it’s that hot.

Over 90, though, and I’m back to my heat-hating grumpiness of old. Add to that the searing humidity of late, and I have to cry “Uncle!”

It’s just too effing hot of late.

Apparently it became official earlier today: August 2021 was the hottest August ever in the Buffalo Niagara region. The month actually began with five days or so of below-normal temps, and there was a lovely weekend two weeks ago with seasonal temps and humidity, but aside from those brief moments, it’s been a relentless month, with temps hitting at least 85 degrees regularly, and with dewpoints well north of 70 degrees.

August in these parts is almost always the best of the summer months: June can be iffy, and our heat and humidity is usually packed into July. Usually by the time August rolls around, we’re in for a bit less heat and a bit less humidity. Usually by August we can start having nights where we can turn off the central air and open the windows. Couple that with the fact that some of our favorite summer events (the Erie County Fair, and our usual trip to the Sterling Renaissance Festival) happen in August, and also add in that even with DST sunset starts returning to a time where I can start to feel I’m getting night back, August is generally a month I look forward to.

This month, though…August 2021…this one was tough. I’ve been a sweaty, sticky mess more most of it, even with my newfound ability to function in hot weather. The central air trucks away, but after a few days of it the air starts to take on a “canned” feel that not even all our houseplants can make go away. And for a new wrinkle, this year we had a night when the air conditioning system actually iced up, so heavily had it been running! That was last night. This weekend was among the most brutally hot and humid of the entire summer, and the AC finally ran so hard that it had no time to defrost the evaporator coil. Luckily I was able to deal with this by turning off the compressors and just running the fans for two hours, which cleared out all the ice. Still, when that happens, we know it’s been hot. That particular small malfunction has only happened one other time since we’ve lived here. (Luckily I know a few things about AC and refrigeration systems! Thanks, Day Job at The Store!)

The cruelest cut, though? I haven’t been able to comfortably wear overalls for sixteen days.

I know, right?

(OK, the actual cruelest cut is probably that most days I haven’t been able to walk the dogs right after work. They love their walks and I enjoy them too, burning off some steam and doing some podcast listening; my podcast queue is piling up again after I had it down to about fifteen unlistened episodes.)

Yesterday saw a cold front finally push through the region, and now we’re settling in for a much more seasonal kind of weather: warm days and cool nights. We’ll be able to turn the AC off overnight (take that, Electricity Bill!), and I’ll be able to start walking dogs in the afternoon again. Night will continue to arrive earlier and earlier, and hopefully we won’t get any blasts of heat in September like we’ve had occasionally. A couple years ago, our annual trip to Ithaca on the last weekend of September coincided with an 84-degree day, when I had packed for autumnal weather. Ugh!

My suspicion is that as our climate continues to shift and our world continues warming up, this kind of August will become more and more the norm, and the Augusts that I remember enjoying fifteen years ago will cease…or they’ll become September. Octobers will become September, and November October, and so on. Summers will become a lot less enjoyable. I can see a future where in summer I’m not able to wear overalls for sixty days, instead of sixteen.

But hey, like I said, we’ve turned the corner for now. Which means…

Still, something cool will be needed later. Enter the Mojito….

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One Response to August is the new July

  1. Roger Owen Green says:

    I've been in Buffalo and Rochester the past couple of days. It was plenty HOT, for sure. It'll be better in September, won't it?

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