Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hot Fun in Summertime - Not!

Those who know me know I am not a fan of hot sticky atmospheric conditions. The primary reason for moving from NYC to Maine nearly 30 years ago was to find someplace that was cold most of the time. Until this past decade, Maine fit the bill.

Thanks to Mr. Bush and his conservative cronies, the consequences of Global Warming are becoming quite evident.

Last winter was one of the mildest on record with limited snow and temps never going below zero farenheit here in Augusta. This had been preceeded by the wettest year (2005) on record and followed by the wettest spring (2006) on record. Flooding caused havoc in the southern part of the state and the months of May, June and now July are recording excessive amounts of rain.

The ocean temps off of Portland - which by the way are reported every evening on the local weather - are running in the low to mid 60's, That is totally unheard of in these parts of the world. In a "regular" winter, the ocean temperature off Portland gets down to the very low 30s. Sometimes it even crosses over to below 32.

In the "good old days" the locals tell us the bays would always freeze and that you could often walk across Portland harbor to South Portland. Mind you, that was a very long time ago.

But seriously, I can remember many summers in the 1970s and 80s when you really could not go into the ocean off the coast of Maine until late July when the temps got into the high 50s. By comparison, the ocean temps in Florida are in the 70s in the winter and much higher in the summer. Maine is simply not a place where you spend a lot of time swimming in the ocean except in the southern most reaches of the state, and even then always for brief periods of time.

Being a bit of a weather buff (I believe all true Mainers are), I've made it my business to follow the various statistics. My family in NYC loves to kid me about this by asking if the tide is coming or going; something I almost always know. So, I predicted that this summer in Maine was going to be hot and damp. So far I have been correct. And, the predictions for this weekend are HHH. Ugh!

While Maine is the nation's Vacationland - at least according to our license plates - there is not much escape from the summer heat unless you own a camp on a lake or a place near the ocean. In central Maine, there are limited swimming pools and public beaches. The nearest is in Jefferson about 20 miles away and usually crowded beyond belief when it gets this hot.

So, crank up the A/C - thank God I have A/C - and look forward to the fall. Thankfully, it should be here in a few weeks.


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