satsfc.gif jULY 14, 2013



The above map shows we are in for it.  The closest cold front is up in Hudson’s Bay, and is unlikely to come south, as the Bermuda High has been reinforced, and is beating it’s chest and calling itself king of the mountain.  And so it shall be, for a solid week. A solid week of heat, of unadulterated summer, of the weather we yearned for last winter, but now are having second thoughts about.

It is fascinating how a Canadian High pressure area, in the right circumstances, fuels the Bermuda High, for it would seem cool polar air wouldn’t get along with tropical air. However the polar air warms in the long days, as it rolls south, and as it gets warmer it sinks less and less, and the high pressure presses down less and less, until the high pressure area is right on the verge of becoming an area of hot, rising air, (in which case it would become a  low pressure area,) however in the nick of time it moves over the cooler ocean, which cools it and starts it sinking again, and reinforces the Bermuda High.

In the current situation the reinforcement is part of a buildup so big that weather systems are being pushed the “wrong” way.  Rather than the typical west-to-east motion, the motion is retrograde, and an upper-air low that was over Pennsylvania has been backed nearly to Texas.

This is actually just a weather pattern usually seen south of the border nudging north.

 Back in the age of sail, people traveled a northern route to Europe, riding the Westerlies, and then, when they returned from Europe, they’d take a southern route, and ride the Easterlies, which were also called the Trade Winds.  Quite often you’ll see a hurricane ride these same winds, coming all the way from Africa on the Trade Winds, and then curving north, and then heading back towards Europe on the Westerlies.

Most of the United States is usually in the Westerlies, and we have a Westerly mind-set. However it is high summer, and the tropics are as close as they ever get to victory over the north.  Therefore, for a week or so, we experience Easterly Trade Winds.

This causes a sort of identity shock to the northern psyche.  They always look west for their weather, and when weather comes from the east they get blind-sided.  As temperatures soar to the nineties and perhaps touch a hundred, day after day,  they will not know what hit them.  Their eyes will get wild and their behavior will become irrational.

You may not believe me, but I am an old man and I have seen these times before.  During the next week you will see the pillars of your community, people you count upon to be dull and boring, stolid and dependable, acting odd.  True, they may not sit atop flagpoles playing the harmonica, but they are liable to do something out of character, due to the oppressive heat.

Do not let it upset you. We have waited all year for this.  Enjoy it while it lasts, for all too soon the north will mount a counter-offensive.  The westerlies will return, and everything will go back to normal, and back to boring.

If you like being bored, then the end of a heat wave is a reprieve from madness.  However if being bored bores you, then a Heat wave is a once-a-year chance to see someone as stolid as a local mayor or minister out in a thundershower, singing in the rain, wearing nothing but the briefest bathing suit, floating down Main Street on an air mattress on a torrent of hot water over hot pavements, protecting himself from hailstones with an incongruous, pink bumbershoot.

That’s the thing about suffering. By the time you realize it can be darn interesting, it is over and done with, and you are smacking yourself on the forehead, because you forgot to take any pictures.


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