Much of the country, from the Midwest to Eastern Seaboard is in the grip of a scorching heatwave. Today, NYC is expecting a high temperature of 100 °F, while Saint Louis is looking at a heat index of 110 °F. It is high summer, mid-July and as such, a single weather event such as this is not all that exceptional, but it is not just an isolated occurrence. It is part of a increasingly clearer pattern of climate change that in this case has been also aptly dubbed global warming.
NPR had an article on this heatwave and how it is affecting people in northern latitudes more adversely, than individuals who live further south. Basically, this is because northerners are not as well prepared to deal with this kind of heat, as are American who live further south and have had to deal with it on a regular basis. In Brooklyn, our son Dan does not have air-conditioning, while in Saint Louis, our friend Joanie fortunately does. It is certainly hotter in Saint Louis than New York, but having the means to deal with the heat makes a difference.
In 1980, when Anne and I first moved to Saint Louis from Michigan, we were ill prepared for what turned out to be an exceptionally hot summer, even by Saint Louis standards. Neither our apartment nor our black car had air-conditioning. We were young then though and lived in a nice enough neighborhood that we could safely leave our windows open at night. We survived. 112 fellow Saint Louisans were not so fortunate and died heat related deaths. Their deaths did serve to spur city officials to take corrective measures, so that during the heat wave of 1995 only 31 people died from heat in Saint Louis. That same year, in Chicago, almost 700 Americans died from the heat.