Summer Heat Turns “Swampy”
Back in Philly, I had a buddy Joe Turner whose nickname was “Swampy”. The tag was appropriate since Joe had a propensity to sweat a lot, whether in the classroom while taking a test, on the dance floor when asking a girl to swing or on the athletic field, baseball, basketball and hockey, while playing sports.
To Joe every day, every act provided a new challenge to “sweat” it out. It could be zero degrees, but Joe would sweat. He could be taking an easy exam, lots of sweat.
We all used to laugh with Joe as he went through the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
I use this story as a backdrop since I have coined the term “swampy” weather to describe our now 6 day old siege of high humidity. Of course, in our case we can thank former Hurricane Isaac for providing us with this “mug-fest” of a climate.
That muggy air manifested itself in the guise of some tropical downpours last night. The Wednesday night shower and tropical thunder pattern held tough mainly through the Coalfields where the towering cumulonimbi cloud pattern looked especially ominous at twilight. Parts of Johnson and Pike Counties in the Big Sandy Valley picked up an inch of rain with others in the Tug, Guyandotte and Coal Valleys in WV mustering almost an inch.The Ben Creek through Warncliffe ran high for a few hours without any serious problems.
If you have not felt Isaac’s slimy clutch then you must have spent the last week inside an air conditioned home. For those of us who jog, the beads of sweat pouring off our heads and soaked shirts are symbols of the Turkish steam bath clime we are in. No need to head to the Y these days! Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick calls it “air you can wear”. I call it “nasty”.
Think of it this way. Isaac traveled some 5,000 miles during his 10 day tour of the West Indies and Eastern USA. Along the way his circulation passed within 500 miles of the equator. In effect, Isaac slurped some the moistest air on the planet from the equatorial region into and along his rain soaked path.
I still remember when Marshall played the University of Florida in Gainesville. The Gator home field is known as ‘The Swamp” for its incredibly hot and humid weather. Mere mortal teams succumb to the stiflingly hot conditions. Ask Byron Leftwich and the Herd how sultry it was on that early September night back in 2001.
OK, all this is a backdrop to our sticky weather pattern that is locked in for the next two days. Highs in the 90s have become pedestrian this summer, though many of those scorchers have been desert heat days. But not these September days! Humidity levels are as high as we have seen this summer, so highs near 90 feel a whole lot hotter.
Again this Friday night, our high school football athletes will have to deal with cramping and possible dehydration. That makes the C.A.T. (Certified Athletic Trainer) the most important and busiest member of the squad.
The “swampy” climate will break on Saturday thanks to soaking showers with a passing cold front. Once that front moves away, our first taste of fall-like weather will invade. By then college football fans at The Joan, Peden Stadium and Commonwealth may well grab a sweat shirt to stay warm in the suddenly refreshing climate.