Monday, August 3, 2009

Fresh off the wire!

July sets 85-year Illinois record as coolest

CHAMPAIGN -- Last month was Illinois' coldest July since 1924.

Preliminary data gathered by researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign shows the average temperature last month was 70.4 degrees. That's 5.3 degrees below normal.

Climatologist Jim Angel says the previous record, set 85 years ago, was 71.5 degrees.
Angel says most parts of the state haven't had any days with temperatures in the 90s. Usually there are at least five days that hot.

Researchers say the cooldown resulted in lower energy demand and poor growing conditions for some farmers.

Meanwhile, statewide precipitation was 1.1 inches above normal in July, at 4.9 inches.

-- Associated Press

Well, duh. Although the above flowers in my mini prairie planting are the best they have looked in 3 years, I ran the furnace twice, count it, 2 times in July to take the chill and damp out of the house. There is a rumor that August will be hot, in about 2 weeks, just as kids go back to school.

I come from an age where air conditioning was advertised on the front of restaurants. Not every place had it and those that did had a small unit in the back that dripped water down the front, usually the right, corner. The air that came out was icy, icy cold, like being dropped onto an Arctic iceflow in your shorts and a tee shirt.

Generally, you didn't want to sit at the table adjacent to the AC unit. When it kicked on, there was a fine spray of water released in the front. Now days, we would be very up in arms over what germs would be in that spray. I remember my mother not being real thrilled with it either. In the winter, those units weren't removed because they were built into the wall. The back side was supposed to be covered to protect the unit from the elements, but many weren't. So, in the summer, when they ran, the water drip would be rusty as well as semi-stagnant from sitting inside the unit.

My prairie plants have enjoyed the weather and benefited from being mowed with the first mowing of the year. Rattlesnake master, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan and shasta daisy make up the corner plot. Queen Anne's Lace, a European import, is also in the plot but it adds some elegance so I'll leave it, for now. I'd like to enlarge the plot and add some other prairie-style plants but I have no energy for digging. Where's a high-school student when you need one?

The only side effect of the damper and cooler than normal weather is an abundance of the rain-water mosquito. West Nile Virus has been in the area for 5 years now. That mosquito prefers hot conditions to breed and there has been nothing hot about July. I think I have killed 3 or 4 mosquitos inside but you go outside at dusk and they will carry you off. Budget cuts have forced communities to scale back their spraying. That's good for the butterflies as the spray got to some of them in spite of the switch to a less butterfly toxic mosquito killer.

I'm rather looking forward to some hot, steamy weather. I'm rather fond of four distinct seasons and July was sort of like late April misplaced. I still have not taken down the top on the Jeep yet as I want to take it down when there are more than 1.5 days in a row slated to be nice. This "potential for rain every other day" business is nuts. As my grandfather used to say in the 1960's, "Must be those danged Russians controlling our weather."

Beverage: I'm out! Time to get lunch anyway.


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