111°

111°
One upside of the hot weather: this is what I had for dinner tonight.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and if you are, you’re probably nice and cool right now) you’ve heard that there’s a massive heatwave moving across much of the U.S., one that has spent the day settling in over the Mid Atlantic. Tomorrow and Saturday are supposed to be the worst of it, but the fact that the heat index is 111 degrees in DC right now – at 9:30 p.m. – doesn’t bode well for the next couple of days.

As the temperature and humidity have been climbing over the last few days, I came to a fairly startling realization: I like epic, record-breaking snowstorms a lot better than epic, record-breaking heatwaves. Being a person who revels in moderate weather, I still pretty much hate both, but I just hate snowstorms less, and here’s why:

  • Snow is prettier. Everything looks magical with a coating of white, whereas browning and wilting don’t look so nice.
  • It’s acceptable – encouraged, even – to hunker down in a snowstorm, but not during heatwave. Everyone is just expected to muddle through.
  • Work never closes down because it’s too hot, but a decent snowfall can garner a day off and the blizzard netted nearly a week off. (This, of course, is merely an annoyance for me – but fairly life-threatening to people who work outdoors.)
  • When it’s cold, there’s all manner of beverages for warming up: hot chocolate, coffee, tea, whiskey… But because of dehydration, heatwaves require water, and lots of it. Bo-ring!
  • Unless the hunkering down allowed by a snowstorm is taken to an unacceptable level of sloth, you (and those around you) don’t smell during a blizzard. This is exceptionally untrue when it comes to extreme heat. Everyone, even ordinarily fastidious people, gets stinky fast in this weather.
  • No one is ever tempted to cope with a snowstorm by going out in an embarrassingly limited amount of clothing. Not so with the hot.
  • And, possibly most importantly, I don’t have to feign any sort of enthusiasm for this weather. Being from New York, there’s some expectation that I like winter, or at least “get” it, and as a result can somehow tough it out. (This is totally untrue, but it persists nevertheless.) There’s no such assumption when it comes to summer, which – I think – means I get to be as whiny as I want.

Keep cool these next few days, folks. And drink a lot of water, even though it’s boring.

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Sunday Snapshots: Hot, Hot Heat

It seems hard to believe that it was less than six months ago that I was trapped in my apartment during Snowmageddon, posting pictures of the ever-increasing piles of snow outside. I’m (mostly) housebound once again this weekend, but for exactly the opposite reason. Our record-breaking heat reaching new levels of steamy awfulness, and I decided after three hours of errands yesterday afternoon that I was staying inside for the rest of the weekend.*

One thing snow has going for it over heat is visual impact. The pictures I took during Snowmageddon were worth their proverbial thousand words in describing the situation. But because photos can’t capture the heat radiating off of everything, they do little to illustrate how miserable this record-breaking heatwave has been. I suppose I could have taken a self-portrait yesterday afternoon upon returning from Eastern Market, but I’m not sufficiently ego-free as to put a red-faced, sweat-soaked image of myself out there voluntarily.

And so, all I have to prove my point is bank thermostats: one from Dupont Circle (near my office) on Friday evening, and a second from 6th & Pennsylvania Ave SE (about 1/2 mile from home) yesterday afternoon.

Dupont Circle at 6:55 pm on Friday.
Dupont Circle at 6:55 pm on Friday.
Corner of 6th & Pennsylvania SE at 2:45 pm on Saturday.
Corner of 6th & Pennsylvania SE at 2:45 pm on Saturday.

Of course, it may all be coming to an end. We just had an epic thunderstorm, and the temperature has dropped about 25 degrees, to a perfectly lovely 75. Of course, the clouds are clearing and the sun is on its way back out, so it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

Gigantic thunderstorm, Sunday at 3:45 pm.
Gigantic thunderstorm, Sunday at 3:45 pm.

* Before y’all castigate me for my heat wimpiness, remember that I don’t own a car, so three hours of errands includes several miles of walking – some of it schlepping grocery bags. I don’t often get to do the much more pleasant air-conditioned-car-to-air-conditioned-store routine, where time in the heat is determined only by the parking gods. Both heat and cold have a lot more impact when you’re outside for long periods of time.