People love to talk about the weather. Don’t know what to say to start a conversation? Just talk about how hot it is. Or cold. Or rainy. Or windy. Whatever.
It’s probably my least favorite conversation topic since it’s so generic, yet I still catch myself doing it on occasion. Lately, how can you not?
“It just affects everybody,” said Jim Keysor, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.
“Who isn’t impacted about the weather and what it does on a given day? Whether you’re a farmer, or someone who wants to go to the beach, on vacation, a golfer, or just want to know how to dress, everyone is impacted by weather. It’s just an easy common talking point.”
Turns out, there’s a good reason people just can’t stop talking about the weather these days.
According to data released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first six months of 2012 were the warmest on record in Michigan and the contiguous U.S.
Across the lower 48, temperatures were 4.5 degrees above average during the first half of 2012. That’s a full degree hotter than the previous record set in 2006.
Here in Michigan, temperatures were 6.2 degrees above average. The previous high over that period was set in 1921. Last month was the 17th hottest June, according to records that date back to 1895.
Locally, Charlevoix topped five heat records in June, reaching at least 90 degrees on three separate days.
All around me, people keep talking about weather. How warm the lakes are. How hot it stays at night. Some crops are going crazy while others are suffering because of the heat. My lawn is turning brown and my flowers are dying — where’s the rain? At this point, the News-Review could do a weather story each day for the next month and it probably wouldn’t even scratch the surface of how the recent weather is affecting our lives.
“It certainly has been an unusually warm stretch,” Keysor said. “Over the winter, we didn’t have much in the way of winter, and then we had that heat wave in March, so it really kicked off what we’re seeing now.”
Back in March, I wrote about how I was so excited for the warmer weather. It meant more time outside and less time trying to figure out inside activities to keep Thom, 3, busy. By spring, he was over the crayons, watercolors and sticker books. We were ready for sunny skies and fresh air.
This summer hasn’t disappointed and we’re taking full advantage.
Nearly every weekend has been spent at the beach. We have funny tan lines, I can’t remember the last time the television was turned on, nor can I recall the last time we ate dinner inside — all signs that we’re doing everything right this summer.
Evenings involve squirt guns, Popsicles and mosquito bites. And I don’t want it to end.
“There really are no changes coming,” Keysor said. “If you look over the long range forecast, from say three weeks through August, temperatures are looking at or slightly above normal. I think most people would be OK with that — most would rather have temperatures in the 80s — you won’t hear a lot of complaining.”
“We’ll just have to wait to see what comes for fall and winter.”
No matter how hot it gets, I refuse to complain because I know all too well what’s coming.
I’m happy to wait. I’m not ready to go back inside.
And from all the weather talk going on around me, I don’t think anyone else is either.
Rachel Brougham writes about a number of topics in this column, which appears each Thursday. If you have a topic you’d like to see Rachel write about, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow @RachelBrougham on Twitter.