Summer Heat Wave 2012
We're experiencing a heat wave right now in Orange County, California.
Yes, I know it's not as bad as it is in other parts of the country, like Texas or Arizona. However, I wanted to relay my personal experience with supplies.
The other day, I got our electric bill and noticed it was $71, when normally it was $45 (yes, living 3 miles from the ocean as the crow flies makes for very cool nights even right now). I know we had been using our central air conditioning unit quite a bit in the past month, off and on. So I decided it might make sense to get a couple of large fans for our place. (We already have two fans, but they don't oscillate and they are small, stationary models.)
Anyways, yesterday I went to Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and Big Lots. They were sold out at Costco. A worker at Home Depot told me they were all out of fans (except a few ceiling fans) throughout Orange County (population: 3.1 million). Big Lots, also out. My local Walmart had a few small desktop units (under 10" tall) under $15, but no large units, nothing that oscillates.
Totally reminded me of how supplies at stores can quickly run out when there's a big rush due to a hurricane, incoming nor'easter, etc.
For those of you living in parched areas of the country, I empathize with you and would appreciate your stories and your lessons learned. I recall a customer from Arkansas once telling me she fed her yard donkey gatorade to keep her hydrated…
Due to lack of rain in July we are officially on the drought map here in the Carolina Midlands: things stayed pretty green due to lots of groundwater so it’s not that bad. But at the end of July we had weather that made our normal summer 100 F temps look like a cold snap.
My observations about trends here during that time:
- We have a well, so we could water our garden so everything did not dry up. Despite watering 2x or 3x a day a few things died or bolted, and many went temporarily dormant, putting their energy into surviving the heat instead of producing food. Our other gardening neighbors were stuck with the local water company rates (very expensive), and all but one let their gardens die. It made us bump the Simple Pump attachment for our well up a notch in importance, even though we have a torpedo bucket.
- People stayed indoors in the A/C or shade. When I was gardening (early morning or late at light) out or doing errands other cars or neighbors outside were much less frequent, except at the beach at Lake Murray. God knows how they would have managed without an A/C. Had the power gone out, we had leftover Eco-foil for the windows, or window screens and door screens. It made us move the venting skylight and sceened porch up a notch on our list.
- Supermarkets were quieter than I expected. Local folks were living out of their pantries, I suspect, while waiting for the heat to break. This told me volumes about the level of preparedness of my neighbors.
- The guy that has a local big, cheap ice machine made a lot of money.
- Before the heat wave, I thought it was weird that no one uses car windshield reflective shades much around here. I admit to not using them much unless I went out on errands but this crisis forced me to use one in my car parked at home. I bought one for hubby’s work truck, too.
FWIW, I hear you on the fan shortage duringa a heat wave. Not being able to find a fan for love or money happened to me once during a heat wave back in NY: that’s why we curretly have box fans in storage. “Two is one and one is none,” as the saying goes.
What a difference a few degrees of latitude make.
No issues in coastal Virginia. We’ve had a couple of 100+ days, but have had pretty frequent rains. This is the first time in years I haven’t had to water the lawn to keep it from going dormant, and our garden watering is way down as well. We have only emptied our rain barrel once and it refilled that night with one of our signature drive-by thunderstorms.
Anyways, yesterday I went to Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and Big Lots. They were sold out at Costco. A worker at Home Depot told me they were all out of fans (except a few ceiling fans) throughout Orange County (population: 3.1 million). Big Lots, also out. My local Walmart had a few small desktop units (under 10″ tall) under $15, but no large units, nothing that oscillates.
Totally reminded me of how supplies at stores can quickly run out when there’s a big rush due to a hurricane, incoming nor’easter, etc.
Yup, same thing happened here 2 winters ago with snow rakes, ice melter and then sump pumps in the spring. Beat the rush…
No big complaints about this summer. We had a 2 week dry spell right after the 4th of July. 55-gallon Rain barrel and well water filled the gap nicely. I haven’t watered my garden since, other than for new seedlings.
I only turned on my AC for 1 day. Although I did struggle to keep cool several other nights. I cut several trees around my house, which most certainly did not help, even though my attic floor desk is now well insulated. I’ll be looking to install radiant barriers for my attic this winter. They did wonders for my detached garage.
I do feel for the folks out in the midwest and south…