Large parts of the US are pummeled by a serious heatwave, producing freakish weather and record high temperatures from the Southeast all the way to the Great Plains. Northern Illinois is no exception - since they started taking weather records in the 1850s, temperatures in Chicago have reached the magic 100F (37.5C) about 60 times, of which one was last Thursday (103F/39C, the hottest June day ever), one yesterday (104F/39.5C, the hottest Independence Day ever), one today (another 103F) and one forecast for tomorrow. Three days in a row of triple digit temperatures has only occurred once before in 1911.
The high humidity does not help, adding another couple of degrees to the heat index. It certainly feels smothering out there, but we're actually enjoying the heck out of it. Of course that's easily said for us; we are much more fortunate than the hundreds of thousands who are now one week without power in the Washington DC area, or the people in south Chicago who cannot afford air conditioning. Our power supply also stuttered twice today, once for just a couple of minutes, but the second time for 1.5 hours after a heavy thunder shook the neighborhood.
The freakish weather started last week with the first 100F day. A summer storm came through, with bizarre clouds that either skated steeply down or broccolied (I know that's not a word, but if you see something that bizarre you need to be a little creative - see for yourself what the pictures are like) towards you. Pretty marvelous, very impressive and a little unnerving, like a scene from an apocalyptic science fiction movie. Like "Independence Day".............
So is it global warming? Or extraterrestrial visitors excessively putting the brakes their spaceship to make a quiet entrance? Or the transit of Venus a month ago impacting the solar winds in ways we have not yet get our heads around? Or the heavens using their form of iCloud to get a mass message across to mankind, or at least to Northern Illinois? Whatever the cause, we definitely are experiencing some local warming here. And some freakishly beautiful sights.