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Posts tagged ‘Weather’

It’s HOT!!! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 14, 2022:

One of the main topics of conversation in northeast Texas for the last couple of weeks is the heat. “Weather” is probably one of the most commonly accessed apps as people follow the temperature, humidity, and “feels like” stats. Of course, all you need to do is step out the door into the oven-like heat to know that it’s HOT!

Some of the younger generations blame the current heat wave on global warming or climate change, but those of us who have lived for several decades spanning two centuries know that the climate has been changing cyclically since the events in the first chapter of Genesis. Two such incidents are particularly vivid in my memory, so I looked them up in Wikipedia.

The first one began two years after I was born and continued until I was ten years old. Wikipedia describes it like this:

The 1950s Texas drought was a period between 1949 and 1957 in which the state received 30 to 50% less rain than normal, while temperatures rose above average. During this time, Texans experienced the second-, third-, and eighth-driest single years ever in the state – 1956, 1954, and 1951, respectively.


Be Prepared | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 3, 2022:

According to the current Yahoo weather forecast, there is a 90% chance the publication of this week’s Leader will be accompanied by snow. The snow could be preceded by a couple of days of rain, and if the temperature drops at just the right time – or the wrong time – a base of ice could turn any snowfall into a real mess like the one we experienced about this time last year. During and after the Snowpocalypse of 2021, David and I watched a lot of videos on how to survive in desperate weather conditions. I thought I’d share some of that wisdom, if for no other reason than to give you a chuckle while you huddle under a pile of blankets.

If the power goes out, move into small room – preferably one attached to the kitchen so you can access food, and one that can be shut off from the rest of the house. That suggestion probably won’t be of much help to us. Our kitchen is part of an open floor plan that includes the dining area and the living room. This large area features a mock bay window and four other windows that, because I am a lover of the sunlight, are not covered by drapes that would keep out the cold. Besides, we are all-electric, so if the power is out, the kitchen is of little use.


It’s HOT! | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 22, 2021:

It’s summer in Texas which means one thing above all others – it’s HOT!

Many conversations begin with “It’s so hot that…” followed by some tall tale that has been passed down for generations. When I was a kid, the big claim about hot weather was that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I remember one ambitions reporter who tried it without much success, but I have friends who claim to have baked brownies or cookies by placing a pan of dough on the dashboard of a closed car parked in the sun.

Summer in Texas is the time when closed cars really do become solar ovens on wheels. Sunglasses left inside can leave permanent scars on the bridge of a nose, and the wise driver doesn’t touch a door handle or steering wheel without protection. The same can be said for sitting on vinyl or leather seats while wearing shorts. It’s also a good idea to stand back as the door is opened because the blast of hot air might singe eyebrows and eyelashes.

July and August are the months during which water bills soar from watering lawns, flower beds, and gardens and from filling wading pools for children, grandchildren, and fur babies. We never had a swimming or wading pool, but we often played in the sprinklers or just squirted each other with the hose. I also tried more than once to fill up the huge cracks that appeared in our yard during the drought in the late 1950s. I never managed to fill any of them, and now I wonder how Daddy managed to pay our water bills.

Indoor Texas pets are as reluctant to go out into triple digit temperature as they are when it snows or even when it rains. I once had an old cocker spaniel who didn’t really enjoy walking in the best of conditions, but when the temperature began to climb, he hated it. He watched for spots where sprinklers were watering the sidewalks and laid down on the wet spot with all four legs stretched out so his tummy could enjoy the full effect of the wet cement. It’s a good thing he wasn’t a Saint Bernard because I often had to carry him home.

Darren Boucher/Getty Images

I’ve always heard the really hot part of the summer referred to as the dog days. I had a vague idea of what that meant – that it was hot – but I didn’t know specifically. Wikipedia agrees with my definition – hot – but it adds a bit more. There’s something related to astrology that I didn’t understand, but I understood the part that said it’s connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. The official dog days of summer for 2021 are July 3 through August 11. As those days approach with threatened brownouts and power outages, the powers that be have asked us to conserve by keeping our thermostats at 78 or above. If 78 is still too hot for comfort, do what we did before we had home air conditioning. In the hottest part of the day, strip down to your underwear, lie down under the ceiling fan, and take a nap. Of course, if you’re not retired like David and I, your boss might frown on that method, so you might have to settle for a big glass of ice cold sweet tea.



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Predicting the weather | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 4, 2020:

Think spring: Sign up for a community gardenPunxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this morning (Sunday), and that’s supposed to mean an early Spring. I guess he was right. It’s 79 and sunny in our part of the world this beautiful Groundhog’s Day. The boy next door is playing on his trampoline in shorts and no shirt, and the neighbors on the hill are having a great time racing each other around the circle on their four wheelers. And seven deer wandered across our back yard throughout the afternoon. I’m not sure what kind of goodies they were finding under the carpet of fallen leaves that escaped mulching when the lawn mower threw a crucial bolt, but they seemed to think whatever they were finding was quite tasty. I’m just glad they didn’t find the lone daffodil that is blooming in the front yard. (more…)

The Storm Cellar | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 13, 2020:

storm cellar doorStrong storms covered Rains County with torrential rains accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning Friday night. The winds were not as strong as predicted, but the forecasts had many residents talking about the weather all week. At the Senior Center on Wednesday, I heard a woman at the table behind me ask if anyone had a storm cellar. Only one of her lunch companions had one, but she said that, in the nine years she had lived in her home, she had never been into the dark hole in the ground with its rotting, shutter-style doors. I wasn’t surprised that no one else had a cellar. The shallow Texas bedrock makes the cost of digging prohibitive. But the conversation brought back memories of my very early days in west Texas.

I was born in a tiny town about twenty miles west of Abilene called Merkel. We moved


A picture of Merkel’s downtown we took around 2002.

from there to Snyder, about fifty miles further west, just shy of my fourth birthday, so my memories of Merkel are limited. I’m sure some of them are things I’ve been told rather than things I actually remember. I know that we lived in a rented house behind Miss Johnnie’s house, our landlady, but I don’t remember much about her. I remember eating pinto beans at her house once – they needed salt. I remember learning to brush my teeth with tooth powder. And I remember the storm cellar. (more…)

Drying My Wings | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 14, 2019:

snakebirdFlorida requires that, when developers put in new subdivisions, they leave a certain percentage of the land in its natural state. We were blessed to have a retention pond right behind our house and a screened-in porch – better known as a lanai by the natives – where we could sit and watch the wildlife. Some of the wildlife, like the alligators, was a little too wild, but the large variety of birds was fascinating.

One in particular caught my eye. It was a rather large black bird with a long neck. It would dive under the water and stay for a long time. Then it would surface and stretch its neck straight up so it could swallow whatever tasty bit of marine life it had snagged before disappearing into the water again. When its tummy was full, it would climb out of the water and sit on a log or rock where it would spread its wings and sit for a spell before flying away.

No one in our household of transplanted Texans could shed any light on this bird and its unusual habits, so I went to the Internet. I found a wildlife site that had a place for questions, and I described our visitor. I received a prompt reply that I was watching an Anhinga or Snakebird. The reason it spread its wings after a swim was that, unlike other aquatic birds, it didn’t have any oil on its feathers. It had to spread out in the sunshine so it could dry off enough to fly.

I have felt somewhat like a Snakebird lately, especially Wednesday of last week. It has been so wet this spring that everyone I know is checking their feet for webbing, and companies that make mildew removers are making a fortune. (more…)

Summer Heat | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on May 29, 2018:

Weather ForecastAccording to USClimateData.com, the average high temperature in Emory for May is 80 degrees and for June is 87 degrees. Apparently someone didn’t get the memo, because weather.com says that we’ve already had nine days over 90 degrees in May this year, and in the next two weeks, the forecast is for six days of triple digit temperatures. The website’s weather calendars from last year show only one day when the thermometer reached that high level, and that was on July 28 when the mercury hit 101 degrees. If this year’s late spring is any indication, we’re in for a long, hot summer.

When it gets this hot, someone who is old enough to know the answer invariably asks, “How did we survive back in the days before air conditioning?” Then, the conversation turns to all the methods we used to beat the heat. David and I have been driving the older car this week, and the air coming out of the A/C vents was just barely cool. On Sunday he stopped at the auto supply where he left the car running so it would be cool for me while he ran in to get some Freon. It didn’t work. As the temperature began to rise, I thought about how we lived back in the olden days. (more…)

Help in times of trouble |by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on May 2, 2017:

weather-mapThunderstorms had been predicted all day on Saturday, but every time we looked at the weather on our phones, the onset had been moved to a later time. Finally, as I was beginning preparations for dinner, the sky darkened enough that I turned on the kitchen lights. We no longer have network TV, so after the dinner dishes were done, David found a movie on his laptop, hooked it up to the TV, and we settled down to watch the latest Jack Reacher flick. (more…)

Watching the Weather | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 17, 2017:
cowboys-starSunday night, after the Dallas Cowboys closed out their 2016 season with a heart-stopping loss to the Green Bay Packers, David switched over to NBC so we could watch the Steelers and the Chiefs fight it out for the privilege of playing the Patriots next week. Along with the football game, we also watched weather reports – a lot of them! (more…)

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