By Sue KILPATRICK
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”
— James Dent
Summer has finally arrived. I know June 21 was the official date, but the thunderheads over the mountains last weekend brought with them the feel of summer … the real thing, at last! Since then, the nights have become warmer – low 60s – and the daytime temperatures are reaching into the 90s. The gradual build up of solar energy by the Earth that occurs this time of year is now being released back into the atmosphere creating this heat. Also another factor in our summer weather is the Pacific high-pressure system located off the West coast. These days from July 3 to Aug. 11 are often referred to as “The Dog Days of Summer.”
You might observe a lazy dog on a summer afternoon laying in the shade sleeping, waking only to snap at a fly or two. Swap the fly for an iced tea and I think we can all relate. Well, in researching this term, history and science proved me wrong!
At this time of year Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Second brightest to the Sun. This is also the hottest, most sultry time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. The term “dog days” comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was responsible for the hot weather. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and others held myths and fears that developed from this celestial event …”When the seas boiled wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers and hysteria…” (from Clavis Calendarium,1813.)
I think I like better the idea of my Golden Retriever lying in the shade by our pool in La Crescenta as the definition of “The Dog Days.”
As we move toward the weekend the temperatures will continue to rise. By Saturday the daytime high could reach the century mark. Nightime lows will be in the upper 60s. Summertime is truly here. With that in mind, don’t forget the dangers of leaving children and pets in cars. Stay cool and enjoy “The Dog Days Of Summer.”
Sue Kilpatrick is a longtime CV resident and amateur weather watcher. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.