To this triple-digit madness we say, “Good riddance!”
None can argue the havoc it has created within our community and the strain it has placed on the patience levels of those whose jobs and personal interests keep them outside for long periods of time.
Then, of course, is the health factor. Such extreme heat is dangerous. It is life-threatening, especially when coupled with overwhelming heat index values and a glaring sun that seems to have frightened away for days at a time those white puffs formerly known in Southeast Tennessee as clouds.
Then, too, are the heat-induced anomalies like that which struck our hometown, and other towns, cities and counties along our perimeter last Thursday. It was known as a “gust front.” For any not paying attention to the news and headlines, “gust front” is the name given to the powerful winds that blew through our community in 70 mph gusts.
Toppling trees, blowing over signs, taking out roofs and portions of roofs, whisking away lawn furniture into the backyards of neighbors as well as the backyards of their neighbors and the backyards of their neighbors and ... we trust you get our point ... and this says nothing of the inevitable — broken power lines from the crash of massive limbs and the sudden thud of felled trees that once harbored those limbs. Even utility poles were snapping under the pressure of the sudden gusts and from the weight of towering oaks and other leviathans whose root systems could not endure the gusto of the big blow.
Keep this in mind, as thousands of Cleveland Utilities and Volunteer Energy Cooperative customers did. What breaks must be fixed. And someone must do the fixing ... in the record heat and under the stress and demand of pressing deadlines. Homes were heating up quickly and the residents inside them were forced to take unplanned measures to escape the rising temperatures while awaiting the repair of their neighborhood electrical connections.
Some herded up the family, locked the doors and headed for the mall.
Some took refuge in shopping centers and other retailers with spacious floors and working air conditioning.
Some checked the newspaper ads to see what was showing and skedaddled to the theater; some didn’t bother checking the ads. They just left in hopes of finding entertainment and comfort.
Some went to restaurants and ordered a cold drink and an entree that was refreshing and cool to their parched throats.
Some accepted the gracious welcome and open arms of friends, family and loved ones across town whose homes were not impacted by the power outage or whose repairs were made quickly.
Some sat outside under the shade of a tree and enjoyed the breeze while delaying the start of yard cleanup following the wind bursts.
Some stared blankly at the wounded trees surrounding their homes questioning why they ever planted them two, three and four decades earlier.
Some scratched their heads and with a tired sigh offered only, “Here we go again.”
Some just stuck it out and stayed at home, wilting in the dark inside and sometimes stepping onto the porch or the deck to welcome fresh air as they waited for the lights to come back on.
If it would help, we assuredly would editorialize our complaint and petition for heat waves — and their accompanying mini-disasters — to be banned from the planet.
But then, this is not our call.
Nor is it that of any man, woman nor beast.
It is just the weather. And right or wrong, we have little say in its occasional miscarriage of justice.
All we can do is to try to stay cool, both inside and out.
We will have more to say in Wednesday’s edition.