Contrary to popular belief, I am not a dyslexic insomniac agnostic who lies awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog. On the other hand, ever since Super Storm Sandy, I have become a bit of a weather geek, prone to rising early each day to check weather data provided by the National Weather Service, NOAA, the National Hurricane Center and other various weather analytic sites and, of course, the climate bible itself, "Weather for Dummies."
Unlike many of my friends and neighbors, I have chosen to ignore the annual weather prognostications proffered by a rodent over at the Staten Island Zoo derived from the appearance of his shadow (or lack thereof). One longstanding item at the top of my bucket list was to sneak into the Staten Island Zoo just before Groundhog Day and arrange to have Staten Island Chuck make his appearance replete with a sign around his neck which read, "Dammit Jim! I'm a rodent not a meteorologist!" Unfortunately, I had to scratch that item off my list back in 2014 when Mayor de Blasio unceremoniously dropped Chucky on his head, resulting in the demise of the rodent weather forecaster.
Speaking of weather, by the time you are reading this column, we should be on the tail end of some showers and T-storms, the system remnants of Hurricane Barry but the real story will be the heat build-up Friday into Saturday. The heat index Friday afternoon will possibly be in the triple digits and will still be hovering around 90 degrees at 1 a.m. Saturday morning. While you are out on your deck early Saturday morning, wondering whether your wet hair is from your recent shower or you are simply sweating, that annoying humming sound you hear will be all the air conditioners in Broad Channel running in unison accompanied by everyone's ConEd electric meters spinning like tops!
Bear with me for a moment while my inner weather geek attempts to explain this climate phenomenon. A heat wave is a prolonged period of abnormally hot weather that only occurs during certain periods of the year, usually (OK, maybe always...) during the summer! Having got all that technical stuff out of the way I should tell you that yes, we're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave. The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising. But what can you do about it?
If you want to maintain some semblance of control over the use of your home's air conditioner, you might do as I did and switch out all the thermostat and other temperature readings in your home from Fahrenheit to Centigrade. Granted, it's more psychological than anything else but 30 degrees C. sounds a hell of a lot cooler than 90 degrees F. and you can warn the rest of the family not to touch the A/C unless the temperature reads 90. Whatever you do make sure you do not switch over to Kelvin temperature readings or else people will call the Fire Department thinking the house is on fire. (90 degrees F. = 305 degrees K.)
Okay, now that we have your house A/C and ConEd in check, what if you have to go outside during the heat wave? Three quick recommendations...1. always dress for the body you have and not the one you always wanted...2. for all you pretty ones out there, go easy on the makeup lest you wind up looking like a Picasso painting and finally...3. resist the urge to throw a bucket of cold water over your head. Remember what happened to Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of Oz?
Oh, before I forget, try to avoid any "but it's a dry heat" remarks. After all, we do live in the middle of Jamaica Bay and a rather large ocean!
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