This is how CNN described it on Tuesday as a relentless heat wave settled over the Northeast USA:
With temperatures near or above 100 along the seaboard Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a heat alert for Washington and parts of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Similar temperatures are expected in those areas on Wednesday.
The heat wave has claimed the life of at least one person. A 92-year-old Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, woman died as a result of the heat this week, according to a spokesman with the city’s medical examiner’s office.
In Washington, at least one rail line was delayed when Metrorail officials found a “heat kink” on the Red Line. A kink occurs in extremely hot weather when overheated tracks expand but can’t be constrained by cross ties or ballast, and when a kink is found, train speed is reduced to ensure passenger safety, Metro said. Track inspectors will continue to monitor all conditions should other tracks become affected.
New York residents are being encouraged to conserve electricity during the heat wave, according to officials with Con Ed Power. “We are on the brink of setting a record in peak electricity use,” said Con Ed spokesman John Miksad, “but it’s not a record we are hoping to break.”
The New York Times reported that it was 102 degrees Fahrenheit in the news room, and here in Central Florida mid-nineties high temperatures have been setting records for a couple of weeks – on the heels of a brutal winter that set records for cold.
On my TV, various meteorology geeks with maps and pointers talked of such mysterious causes as “a Bermuda High” (apparently not associated with recreational drug use or the Bermuda Triangle).
I haven’t heard a word about global warming.
If my memory can be trusted, a lot was said about global warming a few months ago, much of it in a mocking tone, when record cold gripped the nation. The morons on Fox News, for example, wanted to know where global warming was now with temperatures plunging all over the place.
You would think that with the billions America spends on education, some semblance of scientific thought might have filtered through to the media and the masses they serve. But apparently not.
I am no scientist – I still suspect (with Thurber’s aunt) that electricity leaks out of wall plugs. But it seems obvious to my unschooled brain that something weird is going on with the weather.
I know, I know. People have been saying that for generations.
Mark Twain (or – depending on your source- his pal Charles Dudley Warner) noted long ago that everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.
Sadly, that’s as true today as it was in 1873, when the phrase appeared in Twain’s book, “The Gilded Age.”
With all the facts and figures scientists have assembled since then,you would think somebody would do something about the weather at last.
Don’t hold your breath.
Despite the evidence, many people are not convinced that our abuse of the environment is messing up the weather – so many people that the U.S. Congress seems unable to pass a climate change bill.
What is Mother Nature going to have to do to get our attention?