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Of Course it's hot, it's summer...Glisten if you must, but no hugs, please

Of course it's hot, it's summer
Glisten if you must, but no hugs, please

BY BO PETERSEN

The Post and Courier
August 8, 2006
Local Section



Sit a moment under this shady live oak, up on the stone wall. Ouch! OK, maybe over a little farther out of the sun. Today won't seem so steamy hot because it's not. Oh yes, the high will be about 90 and the heat index 100 or more. The beach umbrella will cause blisters if left lying on the sand.

But that's just summer in the Lowcountry.

The heat wave has eased with the stormy weather. No more "Heat index of 115" and National Weather Service warnings. By this weekend the high temps might not rise out of the 80s. Ahhhh.

"It's a push of cooler air. There's still a little debate over how cool," said meteorologist Joe Calderone with the weather service's Charleston office. Not until Friday will the heat index, that "real feel" temperature, have much chance of dipping below 100. And it's only for awhile. "Eventually this time of year, a high pressure settles in and temperatures creep back into the 90s," Calderone said.

But while we're here, let's review what we learned these past two weeks.

The Hades index

The press of heat and humidity combined made the Lowcountry miserable, and the National Weather Service has the combination down. It's not as simple as adding heat and humidity together. The Heat Index was arrived at using a simple equation: H I = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.1433127R - 0.22475541TR - 6.83783x10 -3 T 2 - 5.481717x10 -2 R 2 + 1.22874x10 -3 T 2R + 8.5282x10 -4 TR 2 - 1.99x10 -6 T 2 R.

Whew. Sweaty yet? The results have been turned into a handy chart where triple digit numbers climb from yellow

"caution" to third-degree-sunburn red "extreme danger" as dizzily as a stroll across the shimmering asphalt.

Don't try the math at home, at least not without air conditioning. A weather service Web site cautions: "The equation was obtained by multiple regression analysis and there is a +/- 1.3 degree Fahrenheit error."

Cookie Monster

It seems every scorcher heat wave brings its own fried-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk story. This summer, a New Bedford, N.H., office worker baked two trays of cookies for coworkers on the dashboard of her SUV in the parking lot as temperature inside the truck rose to 200 degrees. The coworkers enjoyed the snack. Her car smelled wonderful for the ride home.

Pool Party

What might be the Lowcountry's best fried-egg story comes courtesy of the West Ashley High School swim team, who took breaks early this week from heated practice laps in the Shadowmoss pool to be hosed down. The pool water was just too hot.

"We've got to hose them down just to be safe," said coach Brad Blake.

De-Moisturizer

They call it "sweatiquette" up north, the high summer social rules for coming into body contact with people whose lips are dripping. But not here in the Holy City.

"In the South we don't sweat," Cindy Grosso of Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette gently reminded. "Women glisten. Men perspire."

And as might be expected, the rules are far more refined. "Perspiretiquette" out on the burning cobblestone calls for languid leisure. Charleston has learned niceties lost on the far north.

"What we know that they don't know is to slow down when it gets hot. When you move a little slower you're nicer. You have time to say good morning. You have time to hold open a door," Grosso said. "They don't get that up there. They race around and get sweatier."

In the Big Apple, according to the New York Daily News, handling people who want a hug and who are, um, perspiring profusely, is a matter of fending. You grab hold of the arm in a martial arts-like defense to keep from getting a wet wrap.

Hugginess is simply not done in Lowcountry swelter. Grosso said she teaches a formal business handshake or a touch on the forearm. As a last resort, go for the "minister's handshake" - grab hold of a desirous hugger's hand with both of yours.

Just don't do it. Say, "I would love to hug but I'm a little bit glisteny." Do carry a fan if you shine, or an embroidered handkerchief if you perspire. Don't use a table napkin. Or your shirt. Or your tie.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

Author: Bo Petersen

Source: The Post and Courier

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