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July 02, 2014



Today is supposed to be (my idea of) perfect weather here in southern Wisconsin: mid 70s and sunny, light breeze. We get about four days like this a year if we're very lucky. I don't like hot so last year's seventeen consecutive days of humid 90+ weather was awful. I almost preferred the past endless winter when the snow never left the ground for almost five months.
A friend moved to Utah and brought her husband back one summer to 102 and humid. Their next visit was at Christmas and as they drove through town he pointed out the"broken"bank sign that said-32. When he got out of the car he told her they were never coming back. I guess we all find what we can balance between.

Elaine Viets

I'm with you, Sandi. I finally found a climate that agrees with me. No more endless Midwest winters and 102 summers -- Missouri is a long way from the ocean breezes. I do like spring and fall in St. Louis, though, and thanks to book tours I get to enjoy both.

Alan Portman

As a life long St. Louisian, I completely know humidity. It is what makes 85 feel like 105. It totally explains why Iced Tea was such a hit at the World's Fair and why the Germans brew so much lager beer here.

Then one summer I went to the dessert. 107 and less than 3% humidity (most days the reported humidity was 0%, one day it was "trace") was more comfortable but weird. Once the idea that I drank 10 liters of water a day and that my shirt was never wet but accumulated enough salt to stand by itself, the dessert was fine.

Elaine Viets

The desert is beautiful, Alan, but I sweat so much there, I have 98% humidity. I think those St. Louis summers trained me for Florida.


I think it's great that this country is big enough that we can all find the kind of weather and terrain we prefer. I love the dryness, too, as well as the desert. The air just feels so light. When we sweat, the air just wicks the moisture away. It is true that we have to slather on gallons of moisturizer to avoid looking like leather, but I think it's worth it. But summers in the SW do get humid as we head into monsoon season. Where I live in AZ, we went from 10% last week to 25% this week, and I can feel the difference. I hate that it's going to get lots more humid as the summer wears on. I wish we could ship off all that extra moisture to those of you who like it.

Elaine Viets

You live in Sedona, another magically beautiful part of the Southwest, Kris. Your bookstore, The Well Red Coyote, is the best store in town.
We could take your humidity and barely notice it -- it's 70% today.


Whereas I've just finished reading the London-set SILKWORM and I'm pining for some rain - a downpour, a relentless week of hammering, a month of grotty drizzle . . . I'll take anything except what I've got, which is yet another day of California sunshine (and dry heat).

Elaine Viets

Rain by the barrel for you over on the East Coast, Catriona. In Florida, you can have both.


I grew up in NYC and now live in DC, so I real winters (although not as extreme as Buffalo or a lot of the midwest) and summers with 100% humidity and temperatures between 85-100 degrees. You can get used to walking 2 blocks to subway and feeling like you need to take a shower and wring out your clothes. I'm not entirely used to the summer torrential rain storms despite having lived in DC for over a decade.

On the other hand, I've never experienced proper dry heat. The two times I've been to Phoenix it was right before monsoon season and the weather was pretty close to DC summer.

A friend of mine from upstate NY went to grad school at U of A Tuscon and when people would tell him "but it's a dry heat," his reply was that once it was over body temperature it was too hot.

Elaine Viets

Dry heat or humid, Cathy, it's still hot.

Kathryn McKade

After living in Arizona for almost twenty years, I've come to the conclusion that somewhere around 110° it doesn't matter if it's dry or humid. Too hot is too hot!

Elaine Viets

You said it better than I could, Kathryn. Have a very cool Fourth of July.


I'm going to speak up for dry heat - if you go and sit under a tree it gets cooler. When I was in Texas in August, and NY in July, it was just as uncomfortable in the shade as in the sun. But not, I suppose, if you like it.

Elaine Viets

Catriona, I say this in all humidity -- you're now back to sunny California?


In Colorado (dry and really sunny), putting on more clothes can actually make you cooler if you're out in the sun! "I'm too hot, I'm going to put on this long-sleeved shirt. Ah, that's better." It's nice.


My Dad, a San Francisco native, always drank hot coffee on hot days and I could never understand it. Think he was trying to get his internal temps the same as the outside temps? Right now we are in the night and morning low clouds (fog) zone. Usually not able to watch fireworks on July 4th. As a kid I always like sparkers, because I could actually see them!

Elaine Viets

The theory that more clothes makes you feel cooler works in the Arabian deserts, too.

Elaine Viets

Many ethnic groups drink hot drinks in hot weather. Thai people like hot tea in their steamy heat. Cold drinks in hot weather are American, Karen.

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