Heat Wave/Extreme Climate Check-In Thread July 20, 2023 8:02 AM   Subscribe

Much of the planet right now is dealing with very intense climate related heat waves. Thought it might be helpful to provide a check-in thread and a space for people to discuss the weather/climate, thoughts, concerns, how we're staying cool, what we're doing to try to conserve energy and survive this climate hell. Stay cool, drink water, check in with the vulnerable peoples, friends, family, & be safe.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 8:02 AM (74 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

It's hot as a fox in a forest fire.

Took landlord 3 days to get someone in to look at it. Fixed. Now I can stop driving around in my car just to get the ac. Also no longer have to spend lots of time wandering the aisles of the grocery for their ac.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:09 AM on July 20, 2023 [6 favorites]

if you are in a vulnerable climate region remember that many classes of medications can lower your capacity to thermoregulate!

if you are feeling overheated and have access to cold water/ice you can put your wrists in the cold water for 5-10 minutes. your bloodstream is very close to the surface there and apparently it takes about 7 minutes for your blood to fully circulate. I have used this technique and it definitely helped.

stay hydrated! stay out of the damn sun if you can!

(I'd invite you all to Oakland but my house is very small)
posted by supermedusa at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2023 [21 favorites]

We've been trying to not run the air-conditioning too frequently to keep the bills down as well as to not stress out the energy grid, but there's only so much a circulating fan can do. That being said, we keep our blinds closed and have fans strategically placed to keep air flowing and avoid going out and running errands during the day unless its absolutely necessary. I grew up in Texas and then moved up to Canada but it seems you cannot escape the Texas heat because climate hell seems to have followed us up here (as so many other people are discovering all around the world). *sighs* But we're drinking water and trying to keep cool as best we can. I hope everyone can stay safe.
posted by Fizz at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2023 [4 favorites]

Strategic curtain use throughout the day, ceiling fans on the go, and the AC only kicks on during the day if the house goes above 25C. Because I live in a 100+ year old house, the ductwork is wonky so we just run a window unit in our bedroom at night and no AC in the rest of the house.

I'm a Southerner by birth so it's not like I'm not familiar with wet sticky heat, but I really hoped for a little less of it up here in Eastern Ontario.
posted by Kitteh at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2023 [7 favorites]

Shoutout also to any MeFites who in Western Kentucky or Southern Illinois dealing with flooding.

My mom's home had flood waters that made it two thirds of the way across her one acre yard and within 10-20 feet of the house before receding. She still had to use shop vacuums to clean the muddy water out of the garage at the edge of the yard. Poor Mayfield (badly damaged in a 2021 tornado and not entirely rebuilt yet) had it even worse.

Anyway, positive mind atoms to mid-Southerners dealing with floods. Hope you and your'n are safe.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:16 PM on July 20, 2023 [5 favorites]

Hi, I deliver things in an unairconditioned van once or twice a week in the southeast United States. This is what my co-workers have learned me about dealing with this heat on 7-11 hour workdays

Do not fuck around with heat or it will quickly find you out. Go back and read that again. Doesn't matter how young you are or used to heat or have lived in heat before, it can and does kill people. It's done it before and will do so again. The heat the world is experiencing is unprecedented, which puts people in even more danger, more quickly, so take precautions!

Make plans to go out into the heat, this is not the time for spontaneity. Drink a mix of regular water and some electrolyte infused liquid at least a half hour before going out. Eat a banana to help with cramping. Wear some sort of hat and/or head band. If you're going to be out for a long time with no AC, bring more liquids than you think you'll need.

The night before, freeze several water bottles filled with either water or some electrolyte infused liquid. That way the bottles can act as "ice" in your cooler and may also melt into a drinkable and cold liquid when you find yourself out on the job with no other liquids.

Don't be shy about bringing or packing a cooler for long days. Fill it with bottles of water and/or electrolyte liquid. Pack that bad mofo with ice or bottles of frozen liquids. Not sure if you have enough liquids? Then bring two packed coolers. That worst that can happen is that you won't need both and can use the items the next day.

Drink constantly. If you feel thirsty that means you're already dehydrated and behind the curve, so drink constantly. Develop some sort of strategy or game that reminds you to drink constantly. Everyone carries a phone, turn the timer on and have it go off every five minutes or so and take a drink. Remember, your goal is stay alive and healthy and you're fighting a war against an enemy that has the odds on their side.

This is one of the few times that you need to know and obey the "natural order". The human body isn't built for this, the heat will kill you.
Bring along a couple of toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, wrapped in foil. I've also done ham and mustard or boneless wings, all of them packed in foil and in the cooler.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are possibilities, you need to know the signs of them.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue, weakness or restlessness
  • Thirsty
  • Anxiety
  • Poor coordination
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Sweating heavily
  • Raised body temperature
What To Do About Heat Exhaustion
  • Stop what you're doing, even if it's your job.
  • Lie down in shade or air-conditioning
  • Drink water or electrolyte liquid
  • Cool compress or towel on forehead and/or back of neat
  • Cool shower or bath

Signs of Heat Stroke
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Dry, swollen tongue
  • Extremely thirsty
  • Disoriented, dizzy or delicious, slurred speech
  • Body temperature more than 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit)
  • Convulsions, seizures or coma
  • May be sweating, skin may feel deceptively cool
What To Do About Heat Stroke
  • Call 911 or its equivalent immediately
  • Reduce temperature until ambulance arrive

Congrats, you survived the day and made it home safely! Here's what you should do to actually feel like you've recovered.
  • Continue drinking water and electrolytes
  • Take a cool shower or bath or jump in a lake or river
  • Get in some air-conditioning and remain there
  • Blast a fan on your head and/or groin
  • Avoid other labor
  • Eat a regular dinner but eat a little more, your body used a lot of calories
  • Avoid the sun
  • Frozen fruit and liquids make a good hydrating smoothie
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2023 [142 favorites]

We are easing off here after hitting 96F yesterday, but I was unable to open my windows and let the cooling breezes waft through my windows overnight, because yesterday morning a big old (vacant) former K-Mart building went up in an enormous fire literally 500 feet from my apartment, leaving the area with much lingering smoke and toxic combustion residue. (There's a great video someone took from a parking lot across the street from me.) Very luckily, so far no one seems to have been hurt and no other property was damaged, but damn. I really like being able to have my windows open when it's warm enough to do so, but my lungs have already taken enough damage over the years from the regular wildfire smoke season.
posted by Kat Allison at 1:54 PM on July 20, 2023 [5 favorites]

Brandon's excellent write-up reminded me I saw this today:
Texas worker accused of being on drugs was actually dying of heatstroke [Guardian]
(Extremely horrible - no need to read it, unless maybe you need to convince someone to be smarter about the heat)
posted by Glinn at 2:35 PM on July 20, 2023 [6 favorites]

I have no idea how or why, but so far I have been managing in Brooklyn WITHOUT my air conditioner. Not because it's broken - it works fine, it's just in my closet right now and I wait until the last minute to wrestle it out of there and into the window. Humidity is the bigger concern - I've got one window (screened and gated) open 24/7, and another window (screened) open when I'm home. (Which...these days, will be more frequent now, now that I've been laid off.)

The biggest humidity issue is in the bathroom - thanks to a very slight leak in the toilet flapper, my toilet is running just ever so slightly, and that makes it so sweaty that it makes puddles on the bathroom floor. At least...it did. I have a small humidifier in the hallway outside, and a Damp Rid unit inside the bathroom itself; the bathroom has no window and is small. And somehow, the Damp Rid has been working.

...Two very good tricks I learned when coping on the Lower East Side without an air conditioner at all -

1. Dr. Bronners liquid soap, specifically in peppermint. There is so much mint oil in it that the menthol cools your skin. Shower with that in summer, accept no substitutes. (But avoid using it on your junk because WOO MINTY!)

2. Sometimes if it's hot at night, I will wet down a t-shirt or a nightdress and put it on, and then go to bed in the wet t-shirt. If it's REALLY bad I will wet down a flat sheet and sleep under that. It dries overnight, but at least it cools you down enough to get to sleep.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:44 PM on July 20, 2023 [13 favorites]

I lived in Chicago for years without a/c and my system was, on the hottest days I wasn't scheduled to work, either picking up a shift or--and this is going to sound super on brand for me, I guess--spending the entire middle of the day at the movies.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2023 [6 favorites]

When I lived in New Jersey without air conditioning on the hottest days I would french braid my long thick wet hair and it was like having a swamp cooler on my head all day
posted by supermedusa at 4:09 PM on July 20, 2023 [4 favorites]

If you’re driving a kid or a pet anywhere, take off your left shoe and stick it in the backseat beside them. You’ll be reminded the moment you exit the car.

Extreme heat can turn even smart, compassionate, careful people into zombies, and the consequences can be tragic.

Take off your left shoe.
posted by armeowda at 5:18 PM on July 20, 2023 [62 favorites]

and keep an eye on the furry friends in general, they can overheat quickly. if you have never seen a cat panting, its so weird!
posted by supermedusa at 5:28 PM on July 20, 2023 [6 favorites]

I know we have been lucky in the Hudson Valley. It's been hot but not that hot.

I would just like it to stop raining so much.
posted by freakazoid at 6:32 PM on July 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

I'm in Maine, we've had an absurd amount of rain, some flooding, not close to what Vermont has had. It's so humid that my laptop keyboard isn't working. The ground is saturated, rivers are high and fast. I don't have AC, I open windows and use ceiling fans and a fan pointed at me. It's been pretty warm and swimming in the nearby lake is unappealing in rain, but I take a lot of showers.

It is perfect weather for mosquitoes, and I am so bitten up. On the good side, I've seen fireflies, not a lot, but more than the last few years.

This feels like the tipping point where it's inescapable that Climate Crisis is Here, is walloping up, is accelerating. There's so little activism and this puzzles me. One of my goals is to find the leaders of the defunct local Indivisible and maybe some other groups. I have no faith in writing letters, or even less effective, signing online petitions. So frustrated and really want to act. I write comments on the local newspaper's site, because the denialists annoy the snot out of me. Existential Dread has settled in, but I'm not really depressed, maybe because there's been a respite from rain.
posted by theora55 at 7:48 PM on July 20, 2023 [5 favorites]

I don’t overheat that much if I don’t eat anything. I might be fooling myself though, because until an hour ago I thought it was Wednesday.
posted by jamjam at 10:02 PM on July 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

Please spare a thought for your mail carrier. They appreciate the gift of cold water more than you can imagine. Gatorade is good too--anything to help them stay hydrated.

I live in Arizona. My husband is a mail carrier. He walks about ten miles outside every day. I worry about him.
posted by meese at 10:03 PM on July 20, 2023 [17 favorites]

As Brandon said upthread, the heat is a menace. And corporate only cares about publishing a poster that warns about heat; realize that they don't provide anything to help workers deal with it. Delivery folks and ditch diggers are out in this all day long. Corporate is in conditioned office boxes.

So, look after yourself and others. At my big box garden center we worker bees are really good at checking on each other and sharing water and seeing if someone has had any shade time.

Not only is it hot, it's humid. You drink water all day long and never need to pee. Before work you layer on sunscreen. Then you layer on sweat salt and dirt and dust and maybe a bit of insect repellent. Ugggg. The end of the day means a crusty shell. Getting clean afterwards is glorious.

And as we age, heat tolerance goes away. It's no wonder that we end our workday with headaches and nausea as our climate changes and we cannot change our workdays to accommodate it.

Reminder that you absolutely must care for yourself in this heat. Like Brandon said, be proactive because it's preferable to the dire consequences.
posted by mightshould at 4:12 AM on July 21, 2023 [9 favorites]

Putting your top sheet in the refrigerator is a traditional family remedy for heat passed down from my NOLA-residing great aunt who tended to live in homes too old to have ac (at least at first)
posted by thivaia at 4:30 AM on July 21, 2023 [7 favorites]

I don’t overheat that much if I don’t eat anything.

You've just reminded me of a gorgeous salad I discovered - a woman who used to live on a houseboat posted this combination of watermelon, grapes, snap peas and cucumbers. She billed it as a "Hydrating salad", and it works as advertised.

She also adds whole almonds and a little chili powder, but I usually leave both out; I've made entire meals this summer out of just a big bowl of the watermelon/grape/cucumber/pea combo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:46 AM on July 21, 2023 [13 favorites]

We've mostly escaped the horrible heat here in central New Jersey, but it's been consistently in the upper 80s low/low 90s with unrelenting humidity, dew points in the low 70s. Speaking of the climate crisis being here, in the past 2 years we have seen multiple tornadoes (up to EF-3) and downpours so extreme they've caused fatal flash flooding. Ten people have died in flash flooding events within 6 miles of my house in that time period. Just this week, people were swept away in their cars not because they drove through floodwaters they shouldn't have, but because a wave of water came down the stream as they were driving over it. We've had weeks without rain this spring and summer, and twice now we've had our average monthly precipitation fall in mere hours.

It's like everyone has a story or five about the crazy weather they've experienced recently. Hopefully we're starting weave these together into a coherent story of what's happening instead of viewing them as atomized, unrelated events.

My thoughts are with those who have to work outside, or who have no easy respite from the heat. Stay safe out there, y'all.
posted by mollweide at 6:25 AM on July 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

An accidental cooling tip, I bought an air purifier to try and help with allergies, and it blows out a lot of cool air.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:09 AM on July 21, 2023 [4 favorites]

We are basically on the edge of one of the big overheated zones on the map, so "just" mid to high 90's during the day, and cooling off reasonably at night. When the heat during the day had been less intense previously, we were doing fine by opening up the house at night and closing it in the day, but then the day and night temperatures moved up about 10 degrees the other week and that was no longer producing a comfortable house.

So, I have the AC on, set at 78 throughout the house and then we can selectively lower the temperature in a single room (like for sleeping). I'm waiting anxiously to see what the electrical bill is going to look like since this is the first full summer that we have had the AC and I'm not sure what the damage will be.

Most people here (except for new construction, where it is now standard) don't have AC because until the last few years, this area didn't get much extended high heat, and especially not hotter nights. The change in temperatures isn't extreme, but it pushes things just across the comfort zone for most people, and there is huge demand (from people who can afford it) for retrofitting AC into older houses. And of course the homeless population (like everywhere, growing fast in recent years) lacks access to AC except at specific welcoming locations. I had to run an errand at about 2pm yesterday, when the heat was peaking, and noticed that almost all the intersection panhandlers were gone -- it was too hot to be out there with no shade, surrounded by hot asphalt and car engines blowing out heat.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:26 AM on July 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

As the summer grinds endlessly on, I'm edging up the thermostat by a degree or two every week or two. I started out 72 at night, 78 in the day and am now up to 76 at night and 81 in the day. I bump it to 83 if nobody's home. The years I had no AC, I used a powerhouse old Hunter oscillating fan that made the room a wind tunnel, and I got under the shower before trying to sleep. A friend of mine discovered that you can soak a t-shirt in water and put it in the freezer. You put it on frozen and wear it until it evaporates, then repeat. Keep three or four frozen and rotate them. If you have no AC but you do have running water and a working refrigerator, you can cobble together a routine centering around the beautiful constant availability of water and ice. In addition to the frozen T-shirts, keep ice trays full and cups of ice nearby and ice in your mouth. If you know you're going out, get your hair wet. If you've been out, get into the shower as soon as you come in again. (Not cold; it's all refreshing and enlivening, so it makes you feel much miserably more hot and depressed when you get out and realize, oh, no, this is the real world. Better just normal shower temperature--I mean, unless you're actively heat stroking, in which case freeze on down ASAP.)

When it gets really dangerously bad is after a disaster of some stripe when the power goes out and you can't access ice. Worst case, the power goes out and there's a boil water mandate, or they just shut the water off to your sector. You can't shower. You can't get clothes or sheets wet. You can't move the air around. All you can do is lie still on the floor and hope a comet hits the Earth.

I think we who live in failed states like Florida and Texas need to start doing like Bermuda, with their white stepped roofs and cisterns.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:57 AM on July 21, 2023 [12 favorites]

Don Pepino, white roofs help a lot. And collecting rainwater makes a ton of sense in many areas.
posted by theora55 at 8:00 AM on July 21, 2023 [3 favorites]

Here's an in-house cooling tip that changed our lives: smart vents.

Running the a/c to get the upstairs cool used to make the downstairs freezing.

We put in smart vents from Flair downstairs. They close when the downstairs is at temp. This way, the a/c can keep working until upstairs is livable without making my kid's room an icebox.

Highly recommend. It's not quite like having zoned HVAC unless you drop the money to do the entire house with them. But if you have rooms that are outliers that get too cold when the a/c is on or too hot when the heat is on, it will sort that out at least.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:14 AM on July 21, 2023 [5 favorites]

Though maybe that's off topic...

Anyway, be careful out there everybody. You'd do well to heed Brandon's tips above.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:06 AM on July 21, 2023

Curtains, ceiling fans, cold drinks.

There seems to be no clear answer about whether it's a good thing to do or not, but I run the whole-house fan all day long. It seems to keep the A/C from coming on as much, and it makes the entire house feel cooler.

I also work slightly harder in the summer to keep clutter to a minimum, to improve air flow. It does seem to help.
posted by cupcakeninja at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2023 [1 favorite]

Note that the more humid it is, the harder it is to stay safe in the heat. You might be able to handle 120F/50C in the desert with enough water but 100F/40C in the tropics will kill you dead because you can't sweat if the air is too moist. Doesn't matter how much wind there is, or whether you're in the shade or not.

Ex Floridian here -- pay attention to your body, not the thermometer.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:24 AM on July 21, 2023 [18 favorites]

We have been blessed in Seattle, all things considered, with this morning cloudy and misty to just this side of measurable precipitation. (!*) My best thoughts and wishes to all who are in either the frying pan or the fire.

*Here we react to highs in the 80s as if they were in the 100s anywhere else.
posted by y2karl at 10:03 AM on July 21, 2023 [2 favorites]

We're due to get the heatwave next week. Tips from lots of time spent in houses with minimal or no AC (granted, in the Midwest, but we still manage to hit 100+ F sometimes with plenty of swampy humidity):

-My parents had one small window unit and would "stretch" the AC unit's coverage by hanging up plastic tarps in the hallway as a makeshift wall to keep the cold air contained to the bedrooms.

-If you only have one AC window unit, floor fans help push the cold air down hallways and into rooms. Or if you have a basement, open it up and put a fan at the top of the basement stairs facing out, to help bring up the cooler air.

-You can cover your windows with aluminum foil (shiny side facing out), and then put up cardboard between the foil and the curtains. I have tried this and can confirm it does help.

-Slow cookers/crock pots are great for heatwave cooking because they don't heat up the house.

-with electrolyte drinks like Gatorade, I have heard "drink until it doesn't taste that good," and at that point you're hydrated. But if it tastes delicious, you probably need to drink more of it. In a pinch, you can also drink pickle juice (but balance it out with water, don't just chug a jar of kosher dills).

-drinking ice cold water or Gatorade when you're overheated can make you throw up, room temp is better if you're really not feeling well.
posted by castlebravo at 12:51 PM on July 21, 2023 [7 favorites]

The average temperature (not the high, just the daily average) for Phoenix, AZ, a city of 1.6 million people, is over 100 degrees F for the month of July. That's completely incomprehensible to me.
posted by meowzilla at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2023 [3 favorites]

I used to ride my bicycle to work, regardless of the weather, and felt guilty any time I took the bus or a Lyft. This month changed all that; I've been taking the bus to work unless I'm out of snacks to take with me, and in that case I leave early and stop at the grocery store partly to pick up snacks and partly to cool down. After work I just sweat heavily for a few miles then feed the cat and shower as soon as I'm back home.

I'm out of guilt about it. I'm 47, I almost never travel; I don't have kids; I've been a vegan for 20 years; and I've never owned a car. As a US resident in a college town, my life is artificially constrained esp. because of the lack of a car. My senators and representatives are reactionary sociopaths, and on the whole it feels like a brilliant bit of blame-shifting to pin climate change on individual choices. Google or Coca-Cola could do more in the next two weeks to solve climate change than I could in the rest of my life, especially in this corrupt and heavily capitalist system.

At any rate, that's how I'm handling it: with doggedness gradually losing out to annoyance and a sense of resentment about being powerless. And also with lots of water.
posted by johnofjack at 2:07 PM on July 21, 2023 [19 favorites]

Slow cookers/crock pots are great for heatwave cooking because they don't heat up the house

And/or you can buy a single standalone induction burner. Much less radiant heat than gas or regular electric, though generally more than a crockpot with the lid on, and more flexible use than a crockpot. If you have gas, it'll also be useful for future air-quality-index days.
posted by praemunire at 2:56 PM on July 21, 2023 [6 favorites]

I posted a few weeks ago in ask about resources for my family when my mom's power went out in a smthunderstorm in northwest Louisiana. My grandmother is bedbound and was on hospice ( she's with us just now no hospice). Anyway, my mom's, brothers and grandmother house all were without power. My mom didn't get power back for 8 days. On day three after the hospice company couldn't do anything and the red cross couldn't do anything and the city opened a cooling center but therebwasnt a way or assistance to get a litteral hospital bed there my grandmother ended up hospitalized with dehydration and a uti due to being in a house with no air conditioning. Her bedsores worsened as the electric bed wouldn't operate. The hospitalization kicked her off hospice bc hospital admission. They are back home but it was a harrowing experience for all involved. My grandmothers place has lost power for about 24 hours twice since that incident. Mom is terrified and mostly alone. She did get a generator but she won't run a cooling unit on it or can't, it's not clear to me. I've offered to pay for one but she keeps declining.I think the house has unopenable windows so she didn't want to put in a window unit? My brother is dealing with that.

Fuck climate change and the government looking around like this is a goddamn surprise.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:29 PM on July 21, 2023 [15 favorites]

AlexiaSky, I'm sorry your family is dealing with all of that.

-In a pinch, you can also drink pickle juice (but balance it out with water, don't just chug a jar of kosher dills).

When I was in college, the belief was that drinking a full jar of pickle juice would flush you out enough to pass a drug test. I never tried but friends swore by it.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:43 PM on July 21, 2023 [3 favorites]

Avoid pickle juice if you have high blood pressure or stomach issues.
posted by biffa at 5:45 AM on July 22, 2023 [3 favorites]

Dallas reporting in. Highs here are only in the low 100sF most days but lows are above 80F and I don't want to think about our AC bill even with mitigation measures like blackout curtains in most of the house. I am the problem and I know it but also, I don't want to die of heat-related disease.

Because I don't work a 9-5, I've adopted a siesta lifestyle (active in the morning and evening, have a nap/second sleep in the early afternoon, though the hottest time of the day is late afternoon and that's when I really want to nap). If you can do this in a hot climate, I really recommend it. It helps.

Also, those of you on meds, please check your side effects for HEAT SENSITIVITY. Some of us, and I am one, are more vulnerable to heat because of our meds. If you're on that train, redouble your efforts at hydration and staying cool. Also, to go with that, LIGHT SENSITIVITY is a thing your meds can do to you. You can wear your sunglasses in the house, blackout curtains (even the cheap ones from Amazon) will help, and you will feel better.

Hang in there, folks. I wish I could say it's going to get better, but over the last decade and a half I've figured out this is the new normal.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 6:57 AM on July 22, 2023 [3 favorites]

Air fryer, if you still have one, is also a good way to cook without heating your house too much.
posted by Night_owl at 7:09 AM on July 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

I have chronic headaches that respond well to ice. I own a hat with ice packs that tuck into it and go all the way around my head and across the crown. It doesn't stay cold long, but it is amazing for both pain and for when I'm having hot flashes. Search for "migraine hat" or similar. If you're feeling really overheated, this will help.

I also recently bought some cooling scarves. You wet them, wring them out, and wrap them around yourself. You can re-cool them by swinging them through the air. These have been a godsend in my overheated workplace, and I also used one to help a teenager who showed up at my house badly overheated one day (she stopped at my place because she realized she wasn't going to make it to where she was supposed to be going on her bicycle).

I'm so scared and angry right now, I can't let myself feel it. We were talking about global warming at least thirty years ago. I stayed optimistic for a long time.
posted by Well I never at 7:13 AM on July 22, 2023 [7 favorites]

I also recently bought some cooling scarves. You wet them, wring them out, and wrap them around yourself. You can re-cool them by swinging them through the air. These have been a godsend in my overheated workplace

Reminds me of when I was editing our high school year book during the summer in the late 90s. Our district would shut off the A/C two days after the last day of school, so all we had in our small portable building on property is a giant ass fan (like those big NFL ones). To stay cool, me and the staff would wet a t-shirt and then throw it in the freezer and we'd swap out two or three different wet/frozen t-shirts once the ones we put on got too humid and hot to wear. It was the only way we survived.
posted by Fizz at 9:30 AM on July 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

News from the weather programs lately is hard to grasp here in SW New Mexico. Ironically, our little piece of land along the ridge above the San Vicente Arroyo has been spared most of the heat. Our monsoon season has brought only a few sprinkles, although Silver City got wet a few times. But the clouds come, block the sun, and lower the temperature by twenty degrees. The warmest night temp on my ridge was 82 degrees at midnite--well within the effective parameters of our swamp cooler. Mostly the temperature at night is in the 70s.

We live in a stucco house, so the inside temperature resists change. Our hot days are to come, in August and September. Last night we were treated to celestial fireworks as heat lightning ran back and forth through the clouds above the arroyo--some strikes and some sheets that careened noiselessly from one end of the arroyo to the other, generating blinding flashes of light without a whisper of thunder.

Everyone knows that, in general, the temperature goes up in urban areas. Karma has visited me this season, requiring me to make frequent visits to nearby Tucson, Arizona, a three-hour drive. Tucson is fucking hot. But I need only travel from my car to the Hotel, or from my car to the entrance to the hospital. The hospital has free valet parking, relieving me from the demanding tasks of searching through a multi-level garage for a space, then swimming through the heat to get back to the entrance.

It would be petty of me to complain about this situation. It's not nice to fuck with Karma lest she visit another object lesson on you.
posted by mule98J at 9:56 AM on July 22, 2023 [7 favorites]

So the heat and having to use up some CSA berries is TOTALLY why I made some gelato frutti di bosco this morning. TOTALLY.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:12 AM on July 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

It's 62F and raining here in south-east England. A year ago we were in the middle of a 100F heatwave in the UK, so this is the opposite end of the summer extreme. The 10-day forecast is for more cool, rainy weather, spoiling many sporting and outdoor events, particularly weddings.
posted by essexjan at 12:44 PM on July 22, 2023 [4 favorites]

May was nice though.
posted by biffa at 12:53 PM on July 22, 2023

In the Sacramento area, the heat wave is 105 for 3-4 days, but it's currently much better than the 115 heatwave hell that was last year, and I hope it stays that way. We are built for summer heat here, but it's pretty sad to witness it in the rest of the world, since usually the normal sentiment was that "wow Central Valley is terrible in the summer! How do you survive it!"

The main thing I've been doing is wearing as little clothing as possible, taking cold showers, wearing migraine ice hats, and keeping the A/C at 79. (80 in my house is when it starts feeling hot for me.) I also use ice packs on my vagus nerve and pulse points throughout the day, and drinking water throughout the day. The most difficult thing I've found is keeping myself fed, I have such a low appetite during summer but being hungry is really dangerous for me.
posted by yueliang at 1:50 PM on July 22, 2023 [2 favorites]

It's 62F and raining here in south-east England

We are here. We are scheduled to fly to Rhodes on Tuesday. Our hotel is currently sheltering refugees from the wildfires. I'm praying desperately the package holiday is cancelled and seriously considering never flying again.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

It's 62F and raining here in south-east England

Unusually pleasant between the rain showers here in the Midlands, remembering how unpleasant it was in Bristol this time last summer. I planned ahead this year, decided to risk the summer in England for logistical reasons, and took a place with a north-facing bedroom. I had to get up last night and put unsexy bedsocks on as there was a touch of chill in the air(!)

Of course, climate sceptics, right-wingers, conspiracy theorists, the car lobby et al, here on this island of the damned, are vocally using this as a pathetic excuse that there is no climate change or global warming, we don't need low emission zones or green energy, solar panels are "woke" etc. The collective amnesia about previous summers, and the deliberate ignorance of the heat in many other parts of the world, feeds into their rhetoric (it feels like some grifters have merely replaced "covid" or "virus" with "climate change" in their scripts).

Speaking of the heat elsewhere, friends are supposedly going to a family wedding on Crete in a few days time. The description of it sounds ... dangerous? There are 270 guests; I asked how on earth everyone gets to even say "hello" to the bride and groom. Apparently you file past them in a long line and have a short chat; that takes several hours and happens outside because of the numbers. In heat in the 40s (Celsius). Even though booked for a long time (originally pandemic-postponed), friends seem increasingly unhappy at going through with it (even before the deterioriating situation in Rhodes - currently 19,000 people evacuated). Suspect they are quietly hoping that the UK Goverment Foreign Office will formally advise against travel there, as this will trigger insurance payments - but, as this is the island of the damned, it's likely that the travel and insurance industries are leaning on the Foreign Office not to do this.

Some rough temperature conversions because too lazy to keep typing them into google:

9 degrees Celsius = 48 Fahrenheit (thermometer reading here last night)
15 degrees Celsius = 59 Fahrenheit
20 degrees Celsius = 68 Fahrenheit
25 degrees Celsius = 77 Fahrenheit
30 degrees Celsius = 86 Fahrenheit
35 degrees Celsius = 95 Fahrenheit
40 degrees Celsius = 104 Fahrenheit
45 degrees Celsius = 113 Fahrenheit
50 degrees Celsius = 122 Fahrenheit
55 degrees Celsius = 131 Fahreinheit
posted by Wordshore at 7:10 AM on July 23, 2023 [11 favorites]

Central Valley is terrible in the summer! How do you survive it?

Hah, had that conversation with a vendor from San Diego yesterday. Mostly it was about how if you live inland we have a 40 degree temperature change between 7 am and 3 pm and what the hell do you wear when you leave the house in the 50's and go home in the 90's. At least when it's this hot I'm wearing the same outfit all day. And people figure out what to do/behave in extreme heat. Also we are rarely humid here, so that helps.

I went to the state fair yesterday. I did well at it since I did the outdoor stuff from 10-11 or so and then spent most of my time in buildings. I did go get a Dole Whip around 3:45 and it had somewhat melted into soup in the minute it took me to go from buying it to finding a cooling center to eat it in. I normally would have hung around to watch outdoor shows, but left around 4 and my car said it was 107.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:43 AM on July 23, 2023 [4 favorites]

Mod note: [btw, I added Brandon's advice comment to the sidebar]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:37 AM on July 23, 2023 [11 favorites]

Another thread linked the Daily 2-meter Air Temperature site the other week, and I've been doomwatching it every day. It has been over a month, since June 22, that the day's worldwide average 2-meter temperature has been greater than any other recorded year. And it's not even close! My horrible intrusive thoughts on this, is wondering if this is the tipping point, and that it won't be a matter of gradual year-on-year increase in heat, but a stepwise jump to +2C right here, this year. That it will just stay up where it is, and start on an entirely new track, the New Abnormal.
posted by notoriety public at 7:22 PM on July 23, 2023 [2 favorites]

I hike in the desert and when I can, Grand Canyon. I am well acclimated to the desert heat and I have found the best way to safely handle the heat is DON’T GO OUT IN IT. Summer hikes are early morning or not at all. Anyway, I bring this up because we desert hikers know well that electrolytes are as important as water. If you sweat, you’re losing salts. Eventually you can end up with a condition called hyponatremia if you’re not replacing those electrolytes. Hyponatremia can kill you (desert park rangers deal with that almost as much as they do dehydration in hot weather.) You’ll see a lot of people say “oh you’ll be fine in the heat, just drink a lot of water.” If you drink a lot of water but don’t replace those electrolytes, you can quickly wind up in deep trouble. This is one reason pickle juice - not a lot! - is recommended, because of the salts. I’ve heard rangers say to eat from the O’s food group when hiking - Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos. It’s because of the salts. Mind your electrolytes. It’s super important.

If you need to be outside, make sure you have a wide brim hat. Not a baseball cap, something with a big wide brim. Hardware stores and the big box home stores sell a hat by Arctic Air that I really like. It has a good wide brim, the top is reflective, and you can wet it down. The brim shades your head and face from the sun and that helps a lot more than you might think. A cooling towel that’s wet and wrapped around your neck is good. You can find (or make) cooling collars that have water polymer crystals in them, and they’ll stay wet for hours. We have a friend that makes cooling collars out of the faux shammy material you can get in the car wash section at Wal Mart or whatnot, she makes it into a tube that’s sewn shut on one end and open on the other, with Velcro to close the tube as well as Velcro to keep in on your neck. She makes them for dogs but they work great for humans too. They’ll stay wet for quite a while but what I really love is that you can put ice in them. Also, as much as I hate to shill for Amazon, they sell a fantastic mister by a company called Coregear. They’re similar to the plant misters you can get in the garden section but they work much better for cooling - they run longer off the pressure you pump in and they make a much finer mist.
posted by azpenguin at 10:13 PM on July 23, 2023 [8 favorites]

Anyway, I bring this up because we desert hikers know well that electrolytes are as important as water. If you sweat, you’re losing salts. Eventually you can end up with a condition called hyponatremia if you’re not replacing those electrolytes. Hyponatremia can kill you (desert park rangers deal with that almost as much as they do dehydration in hot weather.) You’ll see a lot of people say “oh you’ll be fine in the heat, just drink a lot of water.” If you drink a lot of water but don’t replace those electrolytes, you can quickly wind up in deep trouble. This is one reason pickle juice - not a lot! - is recommended, because of the salts. I’ve heard rangers say to eat from the O’s food group when hiking - Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos. It’s because of the salts. Mind your electrolytes. It’s super important.

I don't know why I didn’t think of it before, but this made me realize that after losing too many electrolytes to sweating, it might be advantageous to switch over to getting rid of heat by evaporating more water from your your lungs and mucous membranes since that wouldn’t lead to any further losses of electrolytes, and that such a switch might lead to paradoxical increases in respiration rate in some cases of 'dehydration'.

When I got ready to Google 'dehydration respiration rate' one of the panel of suggested searches was 'why does dehydration increase respiration rate', which led me to this page
Dehydration and respiratory rate are related. Dehydration has been shown to increase the rate of respiratory rate in several species. This is due to the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in controlling the rate of breathing in response to various physiological conditions. In general, the ANS is responsible for regulating the rate and depth of breathing in response to changes in the environment. When the body loses fluids, the ANS responds by increasing the rate and depth of breathing to compensate for the loss of fluid.

When people become dehydrated, their body functions change. Not being able to sweat can cause a person’s body temperature to rise, which can result in hyperthermia. As a result, their sweat glands slow or stop producing sweat, causing the body to lose water or electrolytes. This can lead to a host of health problems, which is why it’s so important to stay hydrated.

Getting dehydrated can have many effects on the body, one of which is an increased respiration rate. This occurs when the body is losing water, and therefore loses its ability to function properly. Because of this, the body must work harder in order to maintain the same functions. This can cause a number of problems, including fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

That stopping sweating and increasing respiration rates might be a strategy for
keeping on cooling without losing more electrolytes apparently hadn’t occurred to them, either.
posted by jamjam at 11:49 PM on July 23, 2023 [1 favorite]

Since this is MetaTalk, I’ll note that I spent 20 minutes trying to make my blockquote leave out the last sentence, but the page simply WOULD NOT LET ME DO IT!

It can be very, very difficult to make a Metafilter comment from an iPad.
posted by jamjam at 11:56 PM on July 23, 2023 [2 favorites]

I will just say that after spending the last week and a half camping in Iceland, I am not looking forward to returning to Missouri today.
posted by jferg at 12:08 AM on July 24, 2023 [4 favorites]

the reason something like gatorade (or any type of electrolyte drink) is better than water is that you need sugar to absorb the water and salts to retain it. water is good for the short term but if you have to work outside or be out for a long stretch, you need those salts, like azpenguin says!
posted by supermedusa at 8:54 AM on July 24, 2023 [2 favorites]

....So, the GOOD news is that the Best Job Office In The World has scored me an interview for a job opportunity this afternoon, at another company in the same business campus, ONLY ONE WEEK after being laid off. (Seriously, I think the time of the interview is the exact time I was called into the conference room one week ago and told I was being laid off. It's spooky.)

The BAD news is - oh crap I have to put on business interview clothes and those are fucking hot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:03 AM on July 24, 2023 [8 favorites]

I just returned home to Phoenix after a month long work trip. It is less hot than it has been, today will be only 113. Perhaps by the weekend it will “cool off” and we will finally have a day with a high below 110 F.

The Phoenix metro area does have lots of cooling centers (to try to reduce the burden on unhoused people/anyone with low a/c access), but most are only open in the day. With this level of heat, temps at night are also risky; the low was 90F last night and one day last week it was 95F at the airport.

Deserts are supposed to cool down at night, but Phoenix is a large city and its buildings retain heat.

Of course the real problem here is that this is not just Phoenix, it’s everyone. Iran, Italy, Greece. The entire lower 48 states in the US will be near record highs or at least high heat index. Phoenix has cooling centers, but does Tehran? Does either city have enough? What about Minneapolis? They’re predicted to have a heat index of 104 on Tuesday.

Same with fires, and floods. They aren’t everywhere, but many places are suffering under one or the other. How can Vermont help Canada with their fires when they are suffering from their own floods? Who is going to send help to Rhodes? It is everything, everywhere, all at once.

And my own actions aren’t helping, I know. I still went on my work trip. I still live in Phoenix (and am more concerned about my water usage than my energy usage). But even if I lived perfectly it would be but a small perturbation; agriculture, global shipping, etc need to be entirely restructured instead.

Sigh. It is hot, I am stuck in the house, and overwhelmed with all the work that did not get done while I was gone. Those are all tiny problems and I am thankful to have them.
posted by nat at 1:01 PM on July 24, 2023 [4 favorites]

Checking in from Atlanta--after a couple of weeks of 95F + 80% humidity, we had some very intense storms over the weekend, and today it was in the high 80s and more like 60% humidity. I went for a walk at lunch, and it felt downright nice out. Even a little breeze. The heat and humidity and smoke :( are supposed to be back tomorrow.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2023 [2 favorites]

Today in Fairbanks, Alaska (latitude 65N), it hit 87F/30C. Not quite a heat record, but pretty close.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:03 PM on July 24, 2023 [5 favorites]

I'm in Vermont where we're getting more heat than usual but also, you may have read about, just awe-inspiring rainstorms. Most places are in the rebuilding phase of post-flood stuff at this point. I've been reading along with Montpelier's (state capitol) library which had six feet of water in the basement so they have no building infrastructure but the building is solid and they "only" lost book sale books. Details here if you want to read more. They're doing amazing. Our library did not have water damage.

Also like my local library, I got heat pumps installed recently. I bought this house last year and it's got a nicely cool downstairs (porches and a lot of windows in the shade) but the upstairs can get hot after too many warm days and it's hard to cool down. I have an insulated attic which is good but all the rooms except one have immovable screens. So you can open them to put a fan in but not OPEN them to put an AC unit in.

Vermont has, in the past, been a state where you don't really need AC except maybe for one hot and muggy week but, like everything, that's changing. My bedroom is the one room which had a movable screen so I had a window AC unit and just used fans a lot and worked in an 85 degree office some days. My office faces south and so it's nicer in the winter but beastly in the summer. It's 78 in here now, it's not bad.

So yes, heat pumps. I watched the heat pump guys working the neighborhood and they were a plumbing company I had used before. I gave them a call and they gave me an estimate (which was about what I was expecting, which surprised me) and were booking out two weeks! I had assumed they'd be booking out six months. So they came and crawled all over the house and installed a bunch of white piping along the outside of the house which looks bizarre but also kind of cool. So now all the upstairs rooms have mini-splits, including my office (except my one project room) and also including one room that didn't even have any heat before this. Prior to this the upstairs was all radiators on one zone heated by an oil-fired boiler, so while I can't stop using that entirely, I can really minimize its use and have bedrooms with more independently set temperatures. I like to sleep cold. My partner does not. We have options.

Last year I also installed a pellet stove which will keep the kitchen from freezing. I sort of abandon the downstairs in the winter because it has hot water baseboards and they're not very warming. I did not grow up with air conditioning and had a family that somehow implied it was only for fancy people and that it was soooo expensive and that's been somehow hard for me to unlearn and develop some perspective about. My power company, Green Mountain Power, also has a pretty good website that allows me to see my hourly power consumption which helps with figuring out what is and is not expensive.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2023 [9 favorites]

The U-shaped or saddle-shaped air conditioner units that have been manufactured more recently are more efficient (having the compressor fully outside of the house) and quiet. In the Boston area I'm lucky enough to be able to cool my first-floor apartment pretty well just from one of those so far.
posted by rivenwanderer at 2:55 PM on July 25, 2023 [3 favorites]

It wasn't that bad today, 86 with 70%, but Thursday is supposed to be over 100 with 95%.

Looks like I'll be doing all the basement chores I've put off for a while. It a good 10 degrees cooler, and with the dehumidifier running we're at 60%.

I know some folks would call me insane, but I'm really trying to skip the a/c this summer, last years bills were a nightmare.

REALLY hope the power stays up. I've got iceblocks in the freezer, but I don't think they'll last that long.
posted by Marky at 11:33 PM on July 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

100F with 95% relative humidity? That's horrifying.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:43 AM on July 27, 2023 [3 favorites]

please stay safe everyone, and yeah, Marky 100F with 95% humidity is seriously dangerous!! don't fuck around (and don't find out!)
posted by supermedusa at 9:39 AM on July 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

Currently 84 F with 84% humidity. Going outside feels like a swamp is punching you in your face. Just a horrid draining feeling.
posted by Fizz at 1:00 PM on July 27, 2023 [4 favorites]

I keep saying I'm going to put a split system up in my home office above the garage, but I keep putting it off. By 2:00 it's getting uncomfortable even with a fan going, and by 3:00 it's too hot to think straight so I have to relocate to the kitchen table. Perhaps this is the year I put a split system in.

The rest of the house has working heat and air, and technically the office has vents, but if the thermostat way on the other side of the house is happy, no air flows up to where I am.

It's 94 F here, with 51% humidity. Compared to many, I have it easy. And yet.
posted by pianoblack at 3:24 PM on July 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

We're in the 90s right now but we were supposed to be over 100 today (base temperature), so it feels like kind of a reprieve. And tomorrow it's supposed to break entirely, and be in the 70s-80s going forward. But the humidity right now is really something. 61% even late at night, like a damp washcloth to the face. I come in from outside and it's like every smell from the street and the alley is clinging to me until I change or shower.

Chicago hasn't had it that bad this year, nationally speaking; however, compared to LAST year, it's been kind of nuts. I'm very glad I moved into a place with central air--last year was so cool and moderate and dry that I started to think it was overkill. But that sucker is on this week, for sure.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

Indeed, it is 31C in Toronto right now, which is just excessive. Thankfully the following days are all 27C or less with overnight in the teens. Probably get some window-open time rather than the past week which has been 100% closed and AC on.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2023

High 90s here in NC, hotter tomorrow. Here’s a cheery thing I somehow never knew: heat index (temp/humidity grid) is measured … IN THE F-ING SHADE. weather.gov says

It surprises many people to learn that the heat index values in the chart above are for shady locations. If you are exposed to direct sunlight, the heat index value can be increased by up to 15°F. As shown in the table below, heat indices meeting or exceeding 103°F can lead to dangerous heat disorders with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity in the heat.
posted by caviar2d2 at 3:33 PM on July 28, 2023 [3 favorites]

You know who has done a bit of research on exertion in the heat? OSHA. Also, the US Army.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:49 PM on July 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

Indeed, it is 31C in Toronto right now, which is just excessive. Thankfully the following days are all 27C or less with overnight in the teens.

22 forecast for tomorrow, which is fine by me: I'll be there and working outdoors much of the day.

A year ago during a heat alert when it was around 40, I was also there and outdoors. During warm weather, I tend to freeze a couple of 600 ml bottles of water and sip them over the course of the day, refilling them so the new water is cooled by the ice in the bottle. During the heat alert last year, I drank both bottles over the course of the day and at the end of my gig both were empty and dry. As soon as I could, I refilled them both, poured them down my gullet, refilled them again, emptied them again. Had some supper, with 600 ml of iced tea, which I necked as well. Back at Union Station for my trip out to 905, I filled both bottles again and drank them on the train. Once home, I drank a pitcher of water from the refrigerator.

In two hours, I drank nine litres of water. If nothing else, that is seventeen pounds I consumed, which seems like too much of anything to ingest in that time frame.

I am better about hydrating now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:09 PM on July 28, 2023 [5 favorites]

Similarly I used to go on long bike rides in the Florida summer heat, I'd start out with two or three water bottles of water and whenever I'd empty one I'd start looking for a bathroom or restaraunt or water fountain or even just a spigot on a wall somewhere to fill them up again. Just lose count of how many times that would happen. Drink, fill, drink, fill. And the salty snacks to go with, cheese, cured sausage, salted peanuts.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:13 AM on July 29, 2023 [2 favorites]

If you are exposed to direct sunlight, the heat index value can be increased by up to 15°F.

All weather measurements are taken in the shade. I mean it makes sense for technical reasons but that it's reported out to people is just weird when it's not even sort of correct. Especially since 100F is treated as a critical temperature and the weather guy is like 'it's 99F, not quite going to break 100F'. Unless you are in the direct sun is a big caveat in the entire US where hot days tend to be cloudless.

And +15F max heat index temperature is just silly because you add the reflective heat, and it's like +20F easily.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:29 AM on July 31, 2023

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