LARRY PENKAVA COLUMN: Hot or cold? It’s all relative

Mother Nature did a number on the weather the other day when the Piedmont was as cool as or cooler than Great Britain.

Larry Penkava

The official high temperature for Asheboro on Tuesday was 78 degrees. Meanwhile, our cousins across the pond are in the midst of a heat wave.
Or, so they think.
On Monday, The Independent ran this story: “The UK is set to bake in its hottest week of the year so far, with temperatures forecast to soar past 30C (86 degrees Fahrenheit). … The hottest day of 2018 so far was in April, when a temperature of 29.1C (84.3 F) was recorded at St James’ Park, central London. ‘We would expect at some point this week to beat that,’ said Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans.
“ ‘We are going to continue with the dry and sunny weather for most places. Top temperatures are going to be on the rise. We could see temperatures into the low 30s (86 to low 90s F) some time this week, possibly from Tuesday, but more likely from Wednesday.”
The article goes on to quote meteorologists as predicting high 20s (low 80s F) “widely across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout the week. Many parts of England and Wales are expected to top 30C, with some reaching as high as 32C (89.6 F), forecasters added.”
“With almost wall-to-wall sunshine we’ll certainly be looking at conditions which many of us would call a heatwave,” said Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders.
Now that’s, well, not-so-hot for those of us in North Carolina.
But it’s all relative, right?
The article goes on to warn readers “to take precautions against the heat and high UV levels.”
The story ends with this: “The record June temperature in the UK is 35.6C (95-96 F), recorded in London on 29 June 1957 and Southampton on 28 June 1976.”
My brother Francis sent me that article. He and his British-American wife Pat have retired to England and are probably basking in the cooler air, notwithstanding the talk about heatwaves.
On Wednesday he emailed this: “Predicted highs for around here today, tomorrow, Friday to be in the low 80s F. Upper 70s for days after that. This is considered ‘hot’ here. I call it comfortable. And nights are very nice!”
I suppose we should extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Brits (American expats excluded) during their sweltering heatwave. Meanwhile, back in the cool Piedmont, our temperatures are predicted to rise back into the 90s (32+C) for the foreseeable future.
It hasn’t always been hot here in the colonies during the week of the Fourth. Just most every year that you can think of.
But I remember a Fourth of July sometime in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s when that changed. A good friend of mine named Jerry invited me to an overnight campout at a large lake in Virginia north of Martinsville.
Jerry had a canoe and we took it out on the lake during our campout. The weather was crystal clear and the air was cool and breezy.
During the night we stayed in his large tent on a wooded hill overlooking the lake. I vaguely remember having to use a blanket to keep warm.
The next day, we drove back to the Piedmont, where the weather was equally cool and refreshing. It was the Fourth of July but it was anything but firecracker hot.
Any other year the Fourth would be in the 90s.
Maybe that’s the problem in the UK — they don’t observe Independence Day, with the accompanying fireworks to keep the weather torrid.
Then again, they probably don’t see eye-to-eye with their upstart relatives to the west when it comes to July holidays.
Nevertheless, whether the weather is considered hot or cold or comfortable, it’s all relative.
So while that relative across the Atlantic thinks it’s sweltering, to you it’s actually quite cozy, what?

Larry Penkava, who has written Now and Then since 1994, wouldn’t mind a British heatwave.