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I’ll make sure to keep my summer clothes handy

Once again, we’re in the grips of a season’s last gasp.

Several months ago, in April, I believe, we were in the grips of one final cold spell as winter grudgingly receded to make way for spring. Now we’re all sweltering under the grip of extremely hot weather in the last days of summer before fall brings us cooler weather. The question is, will the fever break by Monday, which is the autumnal equinox; supposedly the start of the fall season.

Living in the south, we take hot weather in stride. We complain about it, but go about our daily business with little whimpering about the heat and humidity. Yes, the temperatures in southern summers hang in the 90s for the better part of almost four months, and we thank God for air conditioning, lemonade, iced tea, sports drinks and Popsicles.

But as this summer has gone on, I have to wonder if more days like the ones we’re going through now are not a glimpse of what we may be seeing in the future. Say what you want about global warming and climate change, it’s here and it may get worse.

Now some folks will say there ain’t such a thing, it’s always hot in the summer in the south and it’s just the season.

I wonder. Locally, yes, summers are always hot in the south, but I’ve never seen it this intense. For some reason, the past several summers have seemed to have more intense heat than before, and I’ve lived in the south all my life. When I was growing up, the heat did not seem as severe, and I can attest to that fact because I’m from that generation where parents told us to “go play outside.” I can only remember once or twice my mother, who was a nurse, warning me about heatstroke.

I like to watch, track and study hurricanes, and during the past few seasons I’ve made it a habit starting in May to go on the National Hurricane Center website and check the buoys in the Gulf of Mexico to see the water temperatures, and they have begun getting into the 80s in late May. When I checked in June, some water temperatures were already in the upper 80s, and tropical systems love warm water.

I’ve watched storms over the past few years become more intense and more destructive, not only with high winds but also dropping heavy rainfall over the areas they hit.

On the other side of the world in Europe, where temperatures in France and Germany normally stay in the 60s and 70s, possibly getting up to the 80s, they have reported over the past few years temperatures in the 90s and triple digits over the past two summers.

Those poor folks.

So I’ll be watching Monday when the “official” change of seasons comes to see if our southern heat begins to cool, and hope that it does.

But all the same, I’ll do what I always do when it gets cooler — keep a good bit of my summer clothes handy.

 

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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