I am a card-carrying weather wimp! I always dread a streak of hot weather. My strategies for managing hot days are to exercise early in the morning, drink lots of water, and stay inside our air-conditioned house.
For 24 hours this week, only 2 of those strategies were possible – early morning exercise and lots of water. Our air conditioning went out unexpectedly! And, of course, all AC service providers were in high demand. We toughed it out as along as we could but couldn’t face another hot night. Our small house is like a hot box in the heat. So, we found a repairman and paid him a premium price to come to our house at 9 PM.
That turned out to be an excellent investment! We had a good night sleep and woke up in a cool house.
I was a bit surprised at how quickly being hot took its toll. I was listless and cranky. I had no energy to do much of anything and needed at least one fan trained on me at all times.
Seattle remains the least air-conditioned large metro area in the country. Less than half the houses are air-conditioned. That is part of the challenge of living in the Northwest as our summers gradually have more hot days.
Heat events like the one this week can be serious health events. Last year during our June ‘heat dome’, Multnomah County (Portland) had a series of days with record highs topping off at 116 degrees. 69 deaths were reported, of those 10 people had air conditioning (AC). AC is considered protective but in some of those cases they weren’t turned on because of concern regarding the cost☹. Here is a link to a presentation if you want more information about what happened in Portland last June and the lessons learned.
I think back on my years growing up in Montana. I don’t think any house had AC. But many of us had basements! They were the perfect place to escape during the hottest part of the day. And we just got acclimated to the predictable hot weather as the summer went on.
That is another part of the heat problem in the Northwest. We aren’t acclimated and keep thinking summers will go back to our ‘normal’ (the high 70’s).
Since 1945, there have only been nine years when we’ve had seven or more 90-plus-degree days in Seattle, and five of those nine have been since 2015.Gene Balk/FYI Guy, The Seattle Times, 7/28/22
I really feel for the people who don’t have a cool place to sleep and those who must work outside.
And I am grateful for Drew, our AC repairman! With climate change, I will be surprised if we aren’t in for more hot summer days.