Editorials

Hot enough for you? Yes, and thanks for asking

News Tribune opinion writers wilt as quickly as other Puget Sounders when Western Washington’s high temperatures start competing with the highs of Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Kansas City. Assuming Mother Nature is accepting comments, we're reprinting an editorial that first appeared here July 29, 1998:

After intensive fact-finding and deliberation, the editorial board of The News Tribune feels compelled to take a firm stand against the present spell of excessive heat.

Let us maintain our perspective here. Western Washington is famous for its mild summer days, though at the moment it is becoming a little hard to remember the last occurrence of such a day.

We have no quarrel with reasonable weather that is compatible with T-shirts and shorts. Our preferred condition might best be described as balmy, but temperatures as high as the middle 80s can be endured when properly tempered by a cool marine breeze off Puget Sound. In other words, we are advocating a warm wave, not a heat wave.

What is wholly unacceptable is this mass of superheated air that has settled over the region like the very breath of Hell. A certain amount of warmth can be justified in the month of July, but not a searing blast that boils the brain, buckles the freeway, scorches the lawn and withers the rhododendrons. Western Washington has been so hot lately, it's starting to feel like a cool day in Texas.

It is our opinion, then, that sustained temperatures in the high 80s or 90s are not a sensible policy for the Puget Sound Basin. Many of the region's inhabitants are poorly suited to furnace life by virtue of their Scandinavian ancestry; others migrated here precisely to escape the broiling summers that are inexplicably permitted in much of the rest of the country.

Let no one accuse Puget Sounders of being weather wimps. The residents of this region can tough out sunless, drizzly days like no one on Earth. In fact, we would positively welcome such a day right about now.

Change is clearly in order. Our recommendation is that July and August temperatures be capped at 85 degrees, with any sustained spells of atmospheric warmth to be accompanied by scattered clouds and occasional refreshing showers. Any weather that prompts the guy next door to say, "Hot enough for you?" should be phased out. Nightly lows should be capped at 60 degrees.

We call on the responsible parties to implement these new policies immediately.

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