The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Hottest day ever in Wales: Met Office

The Met Office has declared that Gogerddan, Wales, has reached 35.3°C (95.5°F), the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country. Meanwhile, the London Broil continues:

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong, said “The extreme temperatures that we have been forecasting are now beginning to build and it is likely that today we will see values reach into the high 30s, possibly challenging the UK record of 38.7°C set in July 2019.

“Even higher maximum temperatures will develop tomorrow with a 70% chance of somewhere in England exceeding 40°C. A value of this level would exceed the current UK record by 1.3°C or more. This is akin to a marathon runner shaving 20 minutes off of the current record.

“Nights are also likely to be exceptionally warm, especially in urban areas. This is likely to lead to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure. Therefore, it is important people plan for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can have adverse health effects.”

This is the first time we have forecast 40°C in the UK. The current record high temperature in the UK is 38.7°C, which was reached at Cambridge Botanic Garden on 25 July in 2019.

Weather forecast models are run numerous times to help us quantify the likelihood of a particular event occurring and estimate the uncertainty which is always present in weather forecasting to some degree. Some models are now producing a 70% chance of maximum temperatures in excess of 40°C in isolated parts of the UK for the start of next week. Mid, to high, 30s Celsius will be seen more widely with a 95% chance we will exceed the current record.

At this writing, Heathrow and London City both report 36.0°C (96.8°F). They still have more livable weather than the world's hot spot right now: Abadan, Iran, reports 50°C (122°F), but its 6°C dewpoint and 8% humidity make it feel like a much cooler 45.6°C (114.7°F).

I arrive around 22:15 BST Wednesday, when temperatures should be closer to 22°C (74°F), which is still a very warm summer day in London.

Lost on a small island

Ordinance Survey, the UK's equivalent to our US Geological Survey, recently discovered that 77% of Brits can't read a map:

Just how far is it to the pub? Three-quarters of UK adults are in danger of never finding out, according to a poll commissioned by Ordnance Survey to mark National Map Reading Week (11-17 July). It found that 77% of respondents couldn’t recognise the most basic OS map symbols, such as viewpoints and pubs. (The latter is marked with a classic pint “jug” glass with handle, so could the ignorance be down to the switch to straight beer glasses?)

Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, more than half (56%) admitted they’d got lost because they couldn’t use a map or follow a phone app correctly, with 39% resorting to calling friends and family, 26% flagging down help, and 10% calling mountain rescue to get home.

Even when they’re not actually getting lost, 31% said they were worried they might. Many adults (46%) said they were happier walking with someone else.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has declared its first Red Weather Warning as they expect temperatures to hit 40°C in London on Monday and Tuesday:

Fortunately for me, they expect cooler weather Wednesday and beyond.

Busy day = reading backlog

I will definitely make time this weekend to drool over the recent photos from the James Webb Space Telescope. It's kind of sad that no living human will ever see anything outside our solar system, but we can dream, right?

Closer to home than the edge of the visible universe:

Finally, an F/A-18 slid right off the deck of the USS Harry S Truman and into the Mediterranean, which will probably result in a short Navy career for at least one weather forecaster or helmsman.

The weather is too nice to stay indoors

So I have queued up stuff to read later:

About the Rogers outage: the CBC published a chart showing that network usage hit 100% of its capacity immediately before it started to fall steadily before collapsing entirely around 4am ET. I wonder if the sequence will turn out to resemble the 1965 northeast blackout?

Meanwhile and elsewhere

In case you needed more things to read today:

There are others, but I've still got a lot to do today.

Plug-in hybrid car + city living

Many people, particularly in the US, have suffered recently because of their choices to live in places without meaningful alternatives to driving, their neighbors' choices not to fund meaningful alternatives to driving, and a war in Eastern Europe that has directly and indirectly raised worldwide oil prices to real values not seen since 1973.

I feel a bit of smugness coming on. See, my house has a Walk Score of 95 and a transit score of 81. I live within 1500 meters (about a mile*) of two rapid-transit train lines and a heavy-rail line, not to mention nine bus routes, three of which operate 24 hours a day. I live within a short walk of multiple grocery stores, bars, restaurants, my Alderman's office, a Target, and basically everything I need.

Also, when my last car gave up the ghost 3½ years ago, I decided to get a plug-in hybrid. It can go about 40 km (25 miles) on a charge, so I hardly ever have to use its gasoline engine when I run ordinary errands.

So yesterday, when I drove to Bloomington, Ill., and back (round-trip: 466 km, 291 mi), I had to fill up for the first time since March 25th. Over the 100 days I went without buying gasoline, I drove 1,400 km (900 mi) and burned 34 L (9 gal) of gas, for an average economy of 2.4 L/100 km (97.9 MPG). In 3½ years I've driven 20,000 km (12,300 mi) and spent $395 on gasoline.

I know many people can't make the same choices I've made, but as a nation, we could make better transit and regulatory choices so that my experience is much more common.

* I'm going to translate everything into American** measurements for the benefit of readers who need to think about these concepts.

** Sure, they're technically "Imperial" measurements, but as that Empire no longer exists, and its remaining bits use the International System (SI), really the only people who need translations live in the United States.

Lazy holiday weekend

I'm spending today finishing a couple of books and season 3 of The Umbrella Academy on either side of hauling down to Bloomington, Ill., for a friend's birthday/housewarming. Tomorrow I intend to continue doing nothing creative, though the holiday may give me cause to contemplate the future of our nation.

Regular posting should resume Tuesday.

One good thing about Texas

I did enjoy the barbecue:

That's a bit of brisket and accoutrements from Stiles Switch BBQ, and it was so good. We also got some from Black's BBQ, which might have actually been better. Of course, even if I ever go back to Austin, I'll have to try one of the other 42,167 BBQ places.

I also stopped by the Home for Developmentally-Disabled Adults and their Democratic Caretakers:

About three meters to my right, which I chose not to photograph, was a giant monument to "The Horrible Men Who Murdered for Slavery," which got mistranslated into "The Brave Men Who Died for States' Rights" by the Texas Lege when they erected it in the 1890s.

Once I got home and collected her from boarding, it took Cassie about ten minutes before she just passed out. This is a happy dog:

American's Austin ground ops

My flight into Austin on Monday took two extra hours after landing—not counting the 45 minutes returning to the airport to get my bag—thanks in part to piss-poor ground operations. Yesterday, we sat at the gate for nearly an hour waiting for fuel.

Apparently the fuel truck has a minor maintenance thing going on, so we had to wait for someone to fix it so they could finish fueling the plane. But once they finished, just past 2pm, we had to wait another 10 minutes because of the shift change.

Please don't make me go to Texas again.