Saturday, July 20, 2019

Weather extremes; or Dog Days in Chi

Remember the polar vortex?

That period of a few days back in January when the shift in weather traits actually gave in Chicago a taste of what things normally are like around the Arctic Circle!
Rocco (left) and Carmelo back in the winter months. Photos by Gregory Tejeda
IT WAS COLD. Particularly that one day where I got an assignment that actually required me to go outside and walk around the neighborhood in search of some colorful tidbits for a newspaper story.

Which I managed to accomplish in record time. No point in getting frost-bite for the free-lance pay rate I take in these days.

I also remember having to take the dogs outside during those days so they could “do their business,” so to speak. They’re not paper-trained, so their reaction to bathroom-type functions is to want to go outside – no matter what the weather is like.

While Rocco and Carmelo usually manage to linger out in the back yard for a few minutes before doing their “duty,” on those days they managed to run outside, complete their business them come charging back to the house.

LITERALLY CLAWING AWAY at the back door in desperate need of somebody to let them inside. Because it’s cold out here!!!

Anyway, these are the memories popping into my head on Friday as we’re enduring a heat spell that some are saying will be record-setting for the Chicago area.

The National Weather Service issued warnings for northern Illinois and Indiana, along with southern Wisconsin, going from Friday at 10 a.m. and supposed to last until about 7 p.m. Saturday.

It’s going to be hot and humid and people were advised to stay indoors as much as possible during that time period.
Rocco prefers the snow from indoors

FOR WHAT IT’S worth, I took the doggies out for a walk Friday morning and they managed to complete their business. But the walk didn’t last that long – pretty soon the dogs were panting heavily as they were hot.

They couldn’t wait to get back inside, and it was a good move that I refilled their water dishes before the walk. For they immediately went for the water and began gulping it down once we got back to shelter.

Now there have been some reports these days reminiscing back into history and 1919, when the heat of that summer was considered a cause of boosting tensions that ultimately resulted in race riots that left many people dead.

Although I suspect many more people had 1995 come to their minds. Much more recent – although even that is a quarter-of-a-century in the past.

I WAS FORTUNATE enough to not actually be in Chicago that summer – I was living in Springfield, Ill., at the time, although I got to hear the horror stories from my mother and brother of just how ridiculously hot it became and the extremes they had to go through to remain cool.

I recall the reports ultimately said the intense heat was because of a shift that, for a couple of weeks, caused Chicago to become something along the lines of Saudi Arabia.

And while those who actually live in the desert perhaps are capable of coping with such conditions, we managed to get caught off-guard. Causing the hundreds of deaths from that summer due to intense heat.
Carmelo wanted the water!

All I know is that if this is what other parts of the world feel like, it makes me all the more thankful to be a Chicagoan. The rest of the world can keep their weather extremes.

BUT I MUST admit to being uncertain about which extreme is more uanbearable. Polar vortex or Arab desert?

All I know is that I take one look at Rocco and Carmelo in heavy pant and know they were about as miserable as they were back in January when they virtually froze their paws off.


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