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How Hot is Too Hot?

Jul 26, 2011 09:05PM ● Published by Anonymous

According to the Weather Channel, the high temperatures in Wichita Falls, Texas, for at least the next two weeks will be between 103 and 109. They haven’t had a day under 100 degrees since June 21…when the high was only 98 degrees. We’re not talking Death Valley here, but northern Texas, about half way between Dallas and Oklahoma City. That hot is too hot.

For Marylanders, multiple days with high temps above 100 degrees are a rare occurrence, until lately, that is. We have been “broasting” like chickens on the rotisserie at Giant for weeks. Moods are lousy, tempers hot, too, and ordinary tasks become a trial. Fox 45 TV in Baltimore made matters worse by slapping one of their weather warning logos (the state of Maryland, this time in bright magenta) on the top of the screen telling us about the “excessive heat warning” and keeping it there for hours straight. Gee whiz, Fox 45, so glad you pointed that out to us…and ruined our viewing of the Baseball Game of the Week last Saturday. If it hadn’t been for your alert, thousands of viewers might have been able to relax and forget about the heat for a while.

So what can make life more livable in weather like this (other than avoiding watching Fox 45)? Here are some tips to stay cool under the collar…figuratively and literally:

This one is a biggie: Try and park in the shade. It makes a huge difference. If the outside temperature is 90 degrees, within 60 minutes the interior temperature of a parked-in-the-sun car will reach 133 degrees. Take a little extra time plotting out your errands and incorporate destinations with trees or covered parking. Even if it means parking a little farther away from an entrance, it will pay off in dividends. As a fallback position, buy one of those auto shades you put over the front windshield. (And it’s a good idea to use it year-round as the sun can damage your dashboard.)

Go out early in the day. Ever consider going to the grocery store before work? It’s much less crowded and everyone you encounter (store clerks, fellow customers) seems friendlier.

Don’t try to rush. Take a note from cultures more used to the heat and slow down. Not stressing out and allowing five more minutes to get to work may be the coolest thing you’ll do all day.

Drink fluids…slowly. It’s never a good idea to gulp down a slushy (oh, the brain freeze!). Use a straw and sip a cool beverage. Or taking your time to enjoy a frozen Italian water ice, one little spoonful at a time. And one person we know swears by a glass of really cold milk as an instant cool down.

Melt right in when you drink water. Before you leave the house, fill a wide-mouth plastic bottle with ice cubes. As you go about your errands, the ice will melt and you’ll be left with nice, cool water to quench your thirst.

Stay out of urban areas as much as possible. Buildings, sidewalks, and pavements all absorb heat and retain it. Those concrete jungles can get mighty steamy. We’re lucky in the Chesapeake Region; we’re surrounded by more water than infrastructure.

Make meal prep a breeze. These days are perfect for stopping by Whole Foods, the Fresh Market, Main Ingredient, and Graul’s etc. and picking up some healthy, already-prepared food.

And, finally, if the kids go under the sprinkler, join them.

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