By David Kennard
Fun facts about the weather...
When people say it is hotter than Hell, most scientists – and by that I mean the first Google result I found – estimate hell cooks at about 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
They derive that figure by assuming that Hell is located “down below,” equidistant from all points on the planet – or the center of the Earth.
Since no one has actually been to the center of the planet, it’s really hard to qualify that.
My grandmother, who spent the last two years of her life in a nursing home – but regularly made hikes around her small Midwest town until the day she died – was fond of the saying that she’d been to “hell and back” for one reason or another.
I don’t think she ever ventured to the center of the earth, but I’m certain Grandma Dorothy knew more about living through the heat of the summer than most of us.
While the question of the temperature in Hell may be more theological than geological, I would offer that it is not nearly as hot as the temperature in my car when I make my Cherry Pepsi run in the middle of the day.Even escaping to the cool waters of South Carolina’s beaches don’t offer too much relief.
I took the family to Folly Beach on Saturday and learned the water was 85 degrees. How do you cool down in 85-degree water? Our friends across the country in California are enjoying water temperatures at Newport Beach of 72 degrees – and they’re wearing wetsuits.
Here is Summerville, we’ve had a hot July. As a newcomer, I can only echo what others are telling me. It’s hot out there, for sure, but it’s not nearly as hot as it has been in past years.
I spent a little time this week digging through the archives here at the Journal Scene and discovered some fun information.
Summerville saw its hottest July on record exactly 30 years ago in 1986. Do you remember 1986?
That was the year Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in flames shortly after lifting off.
It was the year that the Chernobyl Nuclear plant in Russia irradiated much of Europe in the worst nuclear disaster in history.
And it was the year that mad cow disease was first identified. Not a good year.
Closer to home, 1986’s headlines were almost as gloomy.
As I was digging though the pages of Journal Scene from 1986, I found a headline over a story by reporter Barbara Hill – yes that Barbara Hill – that declared, “North Charleston is Getting closer.”
“It used to be you had to drive quite a distance to reach North Charleston. Now two miles of Dorchester Road and a quarter-of-a-mile of Ladson Road are all that separate the municipal boundaries of that city from the Town of Summerville.
“Summerville recently annexed the Ladson Farms area along the Miles-Jamison Road, and that land extends back to the railroad tract crossing Ladson Road. This brought North Charleston to within that quarter of a mile of Summerville.
“ ‘Someday we’ll surely touch along Dorchester,’ said Berlin G. Myers, Summerville’s mayor. “I don’t know who’ll be going in what direction out there, but we’ll touch.’ ”
Now, 30 years later, Berlin G. Myers’ prophetic words have been realized.
Temperature-wise, July in Summerville in 1986 saw at least 10 days of 100-degree weather. This year, we’ve had two.
According to the National Weather Service, the average high temperature in 1986 was 100.25 degrees. Now, 30 years later, the average high temperature is 95.11 degrees.
But don’t go putting your sweater on yet, 95 degrees is still plenty warm, so warm that we’ve seen several heat advisories this month.
Another Journal Scene story from 1986 warned residents to take precautions during excessively hot days.
The story urged local residents to modify outdoor activities and do strenuous work during the coolest parts of the day.
“Also, dressing in loose fitting clothing, taking frequent breaks and drinking water often during periods of increased activity can help avoid possible injury,” the story stated.
That’s good advice even if it is 30 years old. Stay cool out there.
David Kennard is the executive editor of Summerville Communications, which publishes the Berkeley Independent, Goose Creek Gazette and Summerville Journal Scene. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-873-9424. Follow him on Twitter @davidbkennard.