It’s been not this summer in Texas. That’s no surprise, but how hot has it really been here in West Texas?
So far, this year, the highest recorded temperature at my local weather station is 117°F (the absolute low for the year was 16.9°).
That’s pretty hot! It’s tempting to imagine that the temperature only stuck there for a little while, and then settled back into something more reasonable. Looking at the graph of the temperature, however, shows a different story.
The table at the end really helps illustrate the extremes. Every day in July and August was over 90°s, and so far, as of writing this on the 9th, every day of September has been as well. Let’s compare that to the same chart from the previous year.
And the year before that.
It’s fairly dramatic.
So, how do we deal with this weather? For most people it’s a question of trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible, but that’s not always possible for the jobs that exist in West Texas, oil field work especially. When faced with that: lots of water and correct clothing goes a long way.
It’s not uncommon to see work trucks with cases of water in the truck beds. Sometimes I’ve even seen entire pallets. Speaking of pallets of water: at our local HEB curbside pickup they have huge stacks of bottled water cases outside. It’s not even worth it to take them in so many people buy them. They just pull one off the stack and put it in the cart as they come down the ramp to deliver groceries.
In the past I have used other methods to stay safe during hot weather. My favorite, which is no longer feasible for me, was getting up at 5:00 AM and walking in the dark before the sun came up. It necessitated an afternoon nap if I wanted to stay up to my usual hour, but made the prospect of exercising outdoors a lot more feasible. I suppose that I could have opted for an indoor gym, but I’ve never particularly liked them, and I have outdoor areas around me to use.
This year, I’m just doing my best to walk early and give myself lots of time. It involves being very aware of how hot I’m feeling. It’s tricky, though, because if you aren’t careful the heat will sneak up on you. You might not even notice that you have gotten yourself in trouble. More than once this year I’ve realized that I have become light headed and a bit dizzy while simply walking. That’s what 99°F can do to you, and todays high is already 104°!