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It’s 110 Degrees, But 99 Was Hotter

July 9, 2021

It’s hot. It’s even headed toward record hot temperatures. It was 110 on my way home from picking up my daughter this week. Our Suburban has an onboard thermometer. It tends to heat up if I’m sitting and idling. But, in this case it didn’t. It was 108 when I picked her up and went up from there.

But, that’s not really the whole story. I live in Utah. It’s a desert. Weird when you consider that we get some of the greatest snow on earth. But, it’s definitely a desert and gets hot in the summer.

I grew up in Lacey, Washington in the Seattle area, known for rain, not heat. But, there are a couple of key differences between Seattle and Salt Lake City: It’s hotter in Seattle.

I don’t care what the thermometer says. It was a lot hotter growing up.

Growing up I didn’t know a single person with automatic sprinklers. And yet, the lawns in and around our neighborhood were always green. Thanks to the rain. Here in Pleasant Grove, not only does every house have automatic sprinkler, but the city pays for the irrigation water for the sprinklers. We pay a flat utility fee and not a per gallon fee like we do on our culinary water.

All that rain in Western Washington not only keeps the lawns green, but it also raises the humidity. . .a lot. There really is something to be said for dry heat. In fact, because we get dry heat, many houses here in Utah have what’s called a swamp cooler. It’s basically a big fan that pulls air through a saturated filter. The air picks up water on it’s way through the filter and cools your house. It does raise the humidity in your house slightly.

No one in Western Washington had swamp coolers. Swamp coolers need a low humidity to work. If the air is already full of water, it cannot pick more up on the way through the filter.

Here in Utah, we have air conditioning. In fact, every house has either AC or a swamp cooler. It was over 100 degrees outside, but I didn’t go out much today. Instead I sat in my office and worked. And when I did go outside I actually drove with the windows down. The dry air kept me from getting too hot.

Growing up, when it got above about 80 degrees, things got miserable. It was not only hot, but sticky. 90/90 days were practically unbearable. Ninety degrees and 90% humidity.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a 90/90 day in Utah.

So, while the thermometer might hit triple digits this week, that’s not the hottest I’ve experienced.

Stay safe (And drink water)

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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