11 August 2003

Land of the Midnight Inferno

July was the hottest month in recorded history for Phoenix area residents. And yesterday, the thermometer topped out at 116 degrees, setting a new record for a high temperature in August. As I compose this report, even after darkness has set in for a couple of hours, it's 108 degrees in Phoenix.

It sure turned Sunday yard work into a grueling adventure. The hand on my back porch wall thermometer eclipsed 100 before 8 am. Frantically finishing up, I had to take numerous breaks toward the end of my chores. Nearly five hours were spent toiling under the fiery sun. I debated getting an earlier start, but didn't think my neighbors would be too appreciative at the sound of my lawn mower at 6 am on a Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, in Europe, a record heatwave that has brung triple digit temperatures, now in its second week, is taxing utility companies and responsible for many deaths. Air conditioning is not a fixture in Northern Europe where the average summertime temperature is in the 70 degree range.


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