Opinion

Rainy day, dream away

Every day, I walk before work, and I set a fast pace, and go for about 80 minutes. I do it all year long, no matter the weather.  So I was therefore out, Thursday before last, on a gray, wet day, that alternated between steady rain and a still-will-soak-you heavy drizzle. Interestingly, because it was so muggy (high dew points), it was comfortable to walk in shorts and a lightweight jacket, which I did not need for warmth, but just to stay dry. I was, in short, in comfortable clothing for the wet conditions.

Many people treat a rainy day as a day to stay inside. But in my view, that’s a big mistake, as the landscape takes on different hues and tones, and becomes slightly blurred in a pleasing way. If you have the right rain gear, I highly recommend taking the family out some rainy weekend day. Mantle Lake is a great rainy day spot in Presque Isle.

One thing I noted while I was out that Thursday, were the many flashes of yellow. The cause? Goldfinches, zipping from tree to tree. They seemed far more active on that wet day than they are on a sunny day. Or perhaps they just stood out more on that gray day.

While on the subject of being in the rain, golfing in the rain, if the rain is not too heavy, can be quite relaxing.  I had one of my best rounds ever, at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., when I fell into a “golf trance” due to the steady, rhythmic drip of water off of my golf cap.

On another note entirely, by the time you read this, I will have already issued my “Rest of the Summer” forecast. It covered all three summer months, June, July, and August.

Caribou averages 26 days per year with a high temperature of 80 degrees or warmer. The most in a season is 51, while the fewest is 6. I am forecasting 28 this year.

Caribou averages 2 days per year with a high temperature of 90 degrees or hotter The most in a season is 11, while the fewest is 0. In fact, Caribou saw no 90 degree days from August of 1970 to June of 1975. I am forecasting 3 this year.

Speaking of hot weather, after the hot spell we had last week, this is a good time to talk about the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke (which is sometimes called “sun stroke”).

The Mayo Clinic definition of heat exhaustion includes:

Dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, and a fast but weak pulse. The skin is sometimes clammy.

If you experience these symptoms, you must stop what you are doing right away, and go cool off. Get to a place with air conditioning or take a cold shower. Drink plenty of water.

Doing these things should prevent a progression to potentially deadly heat stroke.

However, if you keep going, keep pushing on, you are truly putting yourself in danger. Again, from the Mayo Clinic definitions, heat stroke symptoms include a sudden cessation (end) of sweating, a body temperature that will soar, often rising above 103 and sometimes even reaching 105, and skin that will feel hot and dry. Nausea and vomiting are also common with heat stroke. Additionally there will usually be a severe headache.

A heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1.

Heat stroke can lead to organ damage, and can be fatal.

Here in The County, we are especially sensitive to hot weather, because very hot and humid air, such as we had last week, is a rather infrequent visitor, so our bodies are simply not acclimated to it.

As for me, I’m already looking forward to the cooler months.

Ted Shapiro holds the Broadcast Seal of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. An Alexandria, Va. native, he has been chief meteorologist at WAGM-TV since 2006. Email him at tshapiro@wagmtv.com.

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