August approached in a golden sweltering haze. In August, the weather is hot, because in the Northern Hemisphere we are in summer and sometimes the days can be so stinking hot, and sultry and irritating, that it makes you lose your mind. The dog days were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, and it is the eye of Canis Major, the greater of Orion’s two hunting dogs. A heliacal rising occurs when a celestial object appears in the sky at the same time, or just before the Sun, or this event is its first visible rising after a period of invisibility due to conjunction with the Sun. Sirius’ heliacal rising occurs when the Sun is about 8° below the horizon and Sirius is 3° in altitude in the east-southeast sky, and this will happen on August 16, 2021. Thus, the dog days are coming and there is nothing that we can do about it, except drink a lot of water and try and stay cool.
An extended heat wave has been baking everyone this summer and August is only just around the corner, so it will most likely just get worse. I saw that there are floods in London, but here in the US many places need rain. Record high temperatures are being broken every day on our rapidly and continuously warming planet, which spells trouble for everyone. Recently hundreds of deaths were reported in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, which have all been linked to a heat wave that has roasted the Pacific Northwest for days and broken Canadian heat records, sending hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for relief. In Washington, at least 78 people died, while in British Columbia, officials counted nearly 800 deaths from June 25 to July 1. Extreme heat is an invisible yet dangerous consequence of human-caused climate change, killing more people each year on average than any other weather-related event, according to the National Weather Service. To be considered a heat wave, the temperatures have to be outside the historical averages for a given area.
People spend a lot of time talking about the weather, and a lot of this is friendly conversation stating what a beautiful day it is, but it is also a lot of complaining usually because it has been freezing cold, or it has been blisteringly hot or persistently raining. Everyone has some experience with the weather and people love to express their opinions. There are a lot of whiney people out there these days and the weather makes an easy victim for their attacks. Chatting about the weather is never going to change anything, but it may provide relief on some level for those that need to rant. Some like it hot and others like it cold and some just enjoy talking.
Unlike hurricane seasons or monsoons, there is no single prescribed date for the start of the North American wildfire season. Canada and the United States share wildland firefighting resources including personnel, vehicles, helicopters and airplanes. President Biden was on TV today speaking about the devastating wildfires that are plaguing our country and how this is also resulting in poor air quality. Biden indicated that we have reserved up to a hundred million dollars to battle against these fires, which are out of control now. The dog days sounds like a good excuse to run around under some sprinklers, but heat waves are no laughing matter. They are serious weather phenomena that can be quite dangerous.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan.