Maybe This Will Cool You Off (if You're in the U.S. Swelter Belt)

By James Fallows

As a watchword for life, you never go wrong with "other people's weather is not interesting." But enough people in the eastern two-thirds of the US are now broiling that it may be a moment to talk about the heat. The map below from The Weather Channel a few minutes ago shows DC at a balmy 93F. Hah. I'm looking at a thermometer now that's 10 degrees over that.

WeatherChannel.jpg


Don't worry -- I'm not going to suggest the slightest connection with larger-scale climate changes. That would just make us feel worse.

Instead I'll direct your attention to the one part of the map that is spared current heat-advisory concerns: the upper northwest, including my one-time home of Seattle. Thanks to Peter Pathe of greater Seattle for a pointer to a story calculating that Seattle has had "78 minutes of summer" this year. That is, a total of 78 minutes in which the temperature has been above 80 degrees F, most of it on one day. The comments on the story include this poignant (and accurate) line:
"Living in Seattle is like being married to a beautiful woman who is sick most of the time."
That shouldn't make me feel any cooler, but weirdly it does.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/maybe-this-will-cool-you-off-if-youre-in-the-us-swelter-belt/242263/