Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's a Dry Heat. Not!

As I write this post, it is just after 10 p.m. mountain standard time.  The sun set around 7:30 p.m. and full dark arrived about an hour later.  It is still 100°F.  In the grass.  Under a tree.  We have 33% humidity.  It is sticky to say the least.  However the magic number here is our dew point.  Right now it is 62°F. 

This time of year in the Sonoran Desert this number takes on a magnified significance.  Three days in a row that exhibit a dew point of 55°F or more declares it to be the Monsoon.  This is when the clouds build on the horizon.  Big, solid, white and dark grey/black clouds in anvil-shaped thunderheads. 

Often this is preceded by an haboob (I love saying that word): a HUGE fast moving wall of blowing dust that is so thick you are completely blinded.  This leads to many traffic accidents out of the city limits where there is nothing to filter out some of the dust, like buildings and tall trees.  By time the haboob reaches my house it just smells dusty and feels like an oven door left open.

For the past 10 years or so, central Phoenix has barely gotten any rain out of this weather pattern.  At most we get one good one that knocks down my back fence and that's it.  The reason for this is entitled "the heat island effect."  All this block, brick, concrete, asphalt and other heat storing materials keep the cooling rains away.  The outer ring of the metropolitan area is what gets hit.  Okay, this may often lead to power outages, but hey, trade off.  Right?

There isn't a point to be made here.  I'm just grumpy because those clouds just sit on my horizon and taunt me in a way that is downright degrading.