After a dry few weeks, it has been raining a lot more around here. By the time you are reading this, we may be under a tropical storm warning. These long-term predictions are hard to pin down, but the hurricane center says there is about a 60 percent chance that a storm will be forming in the Gulf of Mexico near us in the next few days. The local weather predictions call for a 50 percent chance of rain all week. That chance of rain will be near 100 percent if the low pressure systems that are currently north and south of us collide in the gulf.
It seems only fair that we get to take part in the weird weather news that has been occurring lately. There has been a heat wave in Europe that has already killed at least 10 people recently. The problem is as parts of France reach temperatures of more than 114 degrees Fahrenheit, many areas of the country have little or no air conditioning. When you read this on Wednesday, both Marseille, France, and Live Oak, Florida, are projected to have a high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is many fewer buildings and houses in Marseille have air conditioners than we have here in Florida.
It was so hot this past June that the highest average temperature record globally for the month was broken. It was so hot on July 4 in Anchorage, Alaska, that the city had to cancel its fireworks display due to concerns about wildfire. The new record of 90 degrees Fahrenheit on that day broke the old record by five degrees. Alaska had several cities break high record temperatures last week.
That brings us to the rain that we may or may not have this week. The problem is that the old weather prediction models that we have been relying on for decades may no longer be of much use. When so many new high temperature records are broken and by such a significant amount, you cannot look at historical data to predict what will happen the next day or the next week. Predicting the weather has never been an exact science and recent developments have made it even more unpredictable than before.
Recent rains in our area have made some roads in the woods in southern Lafayette County impassable. I found that out the hard way this past Saturday. I was driving around looking for cleared land in the Triple Creek Hunting Club when I came to a spot in the road that had tall grass and reeds growing in it. I figured I could get through any slippery spots with my four-wheel drive. I was wrong. My truck got stuck about halfway through the mud puddle that the grass and reeds were concealing. It makes your heart sink a little bit when all four of your tires are spinning but you are going nowhere. I did manage to drive in reverse for about 10 feet, then all four tires slipped again. I tried digging out and I tried tying sticks to the tires, but nothing could free my vehicle.
Luckily, I called someone I knew in the area and he pulled my truck out of the hole I was in. He did not accept any money or even a beer for his effort. You are going to need to keep your umbrellas and your tow ropes handy this week if the National Hurricane Center is correct. It is going to be a wet one.
Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.