Scorchio! British summer of 2018 edition
June 29, 2018 8:32 AM   Subscribe

As hosepipe bans and water supply issues occur, moist and instagramed Brits bare skin while shopping, slip into thongs, and turn to radishes and licking Earl Grey tea ice lollies. As moors catch fire and roads and buildings "melt" the heatwave stretches onwards. Tube travel is now in "sweaty stranger armpit" mode, while usually delightfully enjoyable British train journeys are delayed and commuters stare at screens. With temperatures topping 30C in all four nations and old people reminiscing about the summer of 1976, the heat is also affecting nearby countries. The usual advice - shade, work breaks, sunscreen, hydration, avoid jumping into quarry lakes and look after your pets and don't leave them in vehicles - prevails. The forecast: more of the same for days ahead. Post title.
posted by Wordshore (98 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Post inspired by a very recent 45 minute train journey I had to make, by the end of which I smelled and probably looked like someone who had spent the last week dumpster diving, was dehydrated, astonishingly damp, half-mad and wanted to never travel on a train again. My subsequent work meeting was not great, though the clients who were train commuters nodded in recognised understanding. "Pretend every train journey in Britain will be, for good or bad, your last ever" one advised as a cognitive technique to cope with being British.)
posted by Wordshore at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Hi. I'm from Texas. If you need any hot weather tips, let me know. We're expecting a balmy 37C today. A nice respite from the usual hot summer temperatures...
posted by jim in austin at 8:45 AM on June 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


sweaty stranger armpit

The handrails build up that special sheen which you know is the result of being repeatedly smeared by thousands of hands with a light coating of sweat, sebum, snot, urine, pus, saliva, tears, sputum, mucopurulent exudate, burger grease, semen, and shit. But grab one and hold tight, or you’ll fall over.
posted by Segundus at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


We were in London in 2009 during a heat wave with temperatures similar to this one. People who are accustomed to temperatures barreling past 90 F will scoff at high 80s F but we found little to no A/C anywhere in London and 86 F quickly gets stifling if there's no breeze and the humidity is high.

And the tube temps get HOT. Ridiculously hot, says this midwestern-US woman used to 100% humidity in 100 F weather.

Also: get A/C, UK. At the very least in all of the tube trains.
posted by cooker girl at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


astonishingly damp

Best description ever.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


sweat, sebum, snot, urine, pus, saliva, tears, sputum, mucopurulent exudate, burger grease, semen, and shit

Ugh; burger grease - you had to go toooooooo far. Those people on crowded, hot trains who, five minutes into the journey reveal the Burger King takeaway they grabbed on the concourse and proceed to slowly and noisily consume this smelly, steaming, greasy thing a few inches away from your face... those people...
posted by Wordshore at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Flameo, hotman!
posted by tobascodagama at 8:56 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


astonishingly damp

Best description ever.
posted by Celsius1414


Eponysterical
posted by Wordshore at 8:59 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


with a light coating of sweat, sebum, snot, urine, pus, saliva, tears, sputum, mucopurulent exudate, burger grease, semen, and shit.


You forgot stale lager.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:01 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


We're not designed for >25 degrees C really.

Limited a/c, buildings aren't designed with airflow in mind, lack of fountains in public spaces, and we insist on doing stuff when its hot. And our food isn't really summer appropriate.

So yes, general tips all welcome. But frequently my flat is hotter than outside :(, and assume I can't build shutters.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


astonishingly damp

Best description ever.



That's an actual official BBC Weather Service dampness gradient:

-Damp

-Rather Damp

-Quite Damp

-Astonishingly Damp
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2018 [17 favorites]


Thank goodness climate change isn't real or you'd really be in trouble. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Sometimes I miss living in a city, and then I remember the heat of a subway station in the summertime. Park Street in Boston always seemed to be 90+ degrees, whether it was 75 or 95 outside. One NY subway station measured an eyeball-searing 106.6F (41C) in 2015.

Also, I'm sorry, the advice to "not get wasted in the day" is terrible. I can't think of a better way to deal with the heat than sitting in a kiddie pool drinking beer.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:13 AM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Oh my sympathies. But can I admit to a very petty very ungracious thought that occurred to me? Right now, I suspect a massive number of Indians, particularly ones over the age of 70, have been bewildered by their sudden desire to start giggling uncontrollably.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 9:18 AM on June 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


While compiling this FPP there was a weird "Is this a double? Did I recently do this FPP then forgot?" feeling, and it turned out yes, in 2013. Much more recently, British transport was messed up by weather only four months ago.
posted by Wordshore at 9:18 AM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hi. I'm from Texas. If you need any hot weather tips, let me know. We're expecting a balmy 37C today. A nice respite from the usual hot summer temperatures...

If any of them involve air conditioning or repaving roads to deals with temps far above what they would normally have to withstand or constructing houses to deal with heat then that's going to be a bit of an issue. Because I know it's easy to mock Ireland and the UK for our reaction to anything above 28 degrees (well, 25 in Ireland), but as others have said nothing here is built for this heat. Not even most of us, who are paler than all get out. (God help the redheads amongst us.) And, who, when we see the sun feel compelled to lie in it without sun block because who knows when we will see it again...

I've lived in Los Angeles and am currently basting in the heat back in Ireland; although I know this temperature is far lower than many I endured in LA, it doesn't feel it - it feels much, much hotter and that's because almost anywhere you go into is about 9 billion degrees and not nicely cool. Except for the freezer aisle in Tescos. That bit of indoors is perfect.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:36 AM on June 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


Do all you UK people do the "open windows late at night, close at dawn" thing when it's hot? This really, really makes a difference, especially in older plaster and brick buildings - unless you're on the top floor.

Keep your windows closed and your blinds drawn during the day to minimize heat, only open the windows once the outside air has cooled below the indoor temperature, use a fan overnight to boost airflow (put it in the window facing out, so that it pulls the hotter air inside out the window) and close the windows early, before the sun is really up. On the first floor in an old building with thicker walls, you can obtain about a 5 degree C/10 degree F difference. Also, if you get a cool day or a particularly good overnight low, be sure to throw the windows wide and use several fans to exchange the air if you have them.

Obviously if your building heats up a lot and is in fact hotter inside than out, open the windows...but I was astonished by how well this works. I used to keep all our windows open for the breeze, keep a fan in the window, etc, and didn't realize that all I was doing was bringing in hotter outside air.
posted by Frowner at 9:39 AM on June 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


I’m in England right now, sitting in the U of L graduate apartment I’m renting. It is, I fear, somewhat warm, although not unbearably so—it’s actually possible to open the windows all the way, so the room does get a chance to cool down. (Many of the dorms won’t let you open the windows more than a few inches, which does nothing for climate control.) I admit that my USAian sense of academic propriety, which calls for wearing a sports jacket when delivering a paper, is conflicting with my sense of reality, which reminds me that the last time I tried to wear a sports jacket in Senate House during the summer, I wound up rapidly removing it.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:41 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


100% humidity in 100 F

Obligatory note that while the US midwest does for sure get really hot and humid, 100% at 100F has never been measured in recorded history. The highest combination like that that's ever been recorded in the US was a dew point of 88F with a high of 95F, or 80% at 95F. The highest heat index ever recorded seems to have been in Dhahran in 2003 when it was 108F and 68% humidity, giving a heat index of 172F.

Myself, I try to remember to short-circuit useless pedantry like this by just saying "a billion percent humidity" to make it clear that I have no fucking idea what the actual relative humidity or dew point are but do know that it was like living in a dog's mouth.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


I work from home and, for me, keeping the curtains closed on the bright side of the apartment works best. This also has the benefit that I can be in whatever state of undress I desire or require and no-one can see. And I don't catch an unexpected glimpse of the possibly sunburnt naturists playing badminton {insert your own shuttlecock joke here, I'm too sweltering to make one up} in their nearby garden. Sometimes I can smell barbeque type smells coming from somewhere outside and I wonder on days like this if it is them.
posted by Wordshore at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Obligatory note that while the US midwest does for sure get really hot and humid, 100% at 100F has never been measured in recorded history.

I was being hyperbolic. I guess I should have said so.
posted by cooker girl at 9:53 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


It was 32º in Glasgow yesterday. Buildings started to melt. And waiting at the glass-roofed train station for platform announcements is like being aggressively cultivated inside a greenhouse. I was so glad when my train turned out to be one with air conditioning that I nearly promised my soul to ScotRail.
posted by Catseye at 10:04 AM on June 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Honestly, when I think of all the "lol you people in the UK think that's hot" stuff one sees, I am reminded of when I'm totally sweltering and I'm among folks who grew up in countries that are very, very hot indeed, and they're just waltzing around in long pants and so on. You get used to it if you grow up with it, and if you don't it's a lot harder.
posted by Frowner at 10:17 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Obligatory note that...

Myself, I try to remember to short-circuit useless pedantry like this by...


It's not obligatory! It's useless! As you said!
posted by craven_morhead at 10:21 AM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Post title.

As soon as I saw the post title, I immediately thought of Darren Emerson's first release after he left Underworld.
posted by stannate at 10:22 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


In regards to Frowner's fan advice, I add that the best combination is a fan with a *mechanical* thermostat plus a timer on the power cord. Set the fan so that it comes on when it's warm, whatever value that is for you, and set the timer so that it only comes on at the time the afternoon is cooling down and turns off when the morning warms up, this is about 5 pm to 8 am for me. If possible, put one fan set to intake and one set to outtake at opposite ends of the house or apartment. Solar film or drawn curtains on windows that get any substantial direct sun.

This won't work in subtropical areas where it doesn't cool down much at night, but if you have any kind of decently cool nights it will handle all but the worst heat.
posted by tavella at 10:26 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was so glad when my train turned out to be one with air conditioning that I nearly promised my soul to ScotRail.
Doesn't ScotRail use similar types of ancient train to Northern Rail? We have the type where the heating has to be turned on in the summer so that the engine doesn't overheat. I've been on them in this type of weather in the past and been quite ill afterwards.
posted by winterhill at 10:31 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


When the tears of utterly helpless frustration evaporate from your hyper-incarnadine cheeks, and the traditional solution to all problems — putting the kettle on — is both inadvisable and potentially fatal...

What more can one do than keep one’s pith helmet well-soaked, and an arctic G&T at the ready?
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:35 AM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Scotrail's stock is better than Northern's in general (and no Pacers, thank all the heavens) but at the moment they're running a lot of older trains that they borrowed from somewhere(?) down south due to various complicated leasing/windscreen issues. They're like a sweaty microwave that smells of feet.
posted by Catseye at 10:36 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Greetings from the Olympic Peninsula. Sorry to hear about your troubles. (where'd I put that sweater...)
posted by humboldt32 at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I did mention last week that I was going to be going on holiday for 2 weeks so you had plenty of warning that uk summer would arrive just after i cleared UK air space.

In fairness the A.C. on the train from Florence was fucked today but now I am back in Bologna with a cool bath and cold beer. Sorry to keep mentioning this but I understand from "young people"* that bragging is the sole virtue of travel.
posted by biffa at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am in Scotland and today, it's actually quite pleasant because there's a breeze. Yesterday it was just hot, no movement in the air at all, and it was really muggy and horrible. Very very un-Scottish weather. And our buildings are not built for it at all! In fact we entirely plan for cold! This house has no AC at all!

The last heat wave I worked in a jewellery store where two sides were just entirely big windows. No AC. We had to wear suits. It was so, so unpleasant, and only mildly improved when word came down from on high that just this once we could take the jackets off.

On the bright side, it's the perfect time to break out the pimms and fruit splits. And eat dinner outside (what decadence!)
posted by stillnocturnal at 10:42 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's been pretty nice in Edinburgh.

I mean, I understand that lots of places are suffering under sweltering conditions and the people there have every right to complain, but I can't. It's been unusually warm here, but not unpleasantly so.
posted by kyrademon at 10:50 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Those of you living in the American Southwest may find this entertaining, but Met Éireann defines "absolute drought" as 15 days without rain - presumably any longer period is impossible to conceive. The grass in apartment complexes and kerbsides is uniformly yellow right now, because watering grass is not a thing that exists as a concept. About 50% of water is thought to be lost between reservoir and tap - the whole country really is set up on the assumption of an infinite daily supply of fresh water. Not to mention farming, where irrigation infrastructure is negligible currently. It generally doesn't have to be when the number of rainy days varies from 150-260 a year depending on location.
posted by kersplunk at 11:16 AM on June 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


Greetings from the Olympic Peninsula. Sorry to hear about your troubles. (where'd I put that sweater...)

I’d kill for that right now. I left Seattle May 10th on a cross-country cycling tour, and right now I’m holed up in a hotel in Illinois hiding from today’s 110°F/43°C heat index. I sympathize with Britain’s suffering.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Greetings from the Olympic Peninsula. Sorry to hear about your troubles. (where'd I put that sweater...)

I've told my friends and family that if I ever had enough wealth and leisure, my ultimate dream would be to chase autumn around the world and just forever travel in sweater weather.
posted by Fizz at 11:49 AM on June 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


Those of you living in the American Southwest...

This is my part of the planet. I had a friend from the UK who was absolutely captivated by the photos I would send him of the mesas, and stunning red rocks, and sunsets. He would consistently refer to them as "the American Outback." It's kind of stuck. :)
posted by Silvery Fish at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


the best combination is a fan with a *mechanical* thermostat plus a timer on the power cord

Don't forget that easy access to pedestal fans and the like isn't really a thing in the UK. You can recommend all you want, they're not in the shops.

ms scruss (from southern midwest, grew up with no AC in humidity you can slice) and I (scottish, exists only in the vapour phase above 25 °C) have such different responses to Canadian summer nights:
  • Reciprocating fan at the foot of the bed
    ms scruss: ahh soothing summer sound zzzzzzzzz
    me: enemy creaking thing at 6 o'clock, must remain vigilent
  • Rolling thunderstorm
    ms scruss: ahh peaceful weather zzzzzzzzz
    me: sky will kill me with big xplosions, halp.
posted by scruss at 12:14 PM on June 29, 2018 [29 favorites]


scruss, you might be a cat or a dog, just saying, based on your fear of things and needing to stay vigilant. :D
posted by Fizz at 12:16 PM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


one (of many) thing that fills me with fury every summer is how in the year of our sweaty lord 2018 somehow people still pride themselves on insisting that hot drinks in the summer will cool you off faster than cold ones, which is A STUPID WRONG BAD TERRIBLE LIE unless you live somewhere with extremely low humidity, and the sweat generated by you chugging boiling liquids can evaporate immediately, helping you cool. i overheard someone telling this VILE LIE on the subway platform yesterday and would have them senseless with my handbag had it not been far too grotesquely hot for such exertions.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:18 PM on June 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


Don't forget that easy access to pedestal fans and the like isn't really a thing in the UK. I don't know about the like, but pedestal fans are readily available in the UK.
posted by StephenB at 12:23 PM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


I love these threads so much! And I especially appreciate the post title - it's something we quote pretty regularly around the brilliantine household
posted by brilliantine at 12:33 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


one (of many) thing that fills me with fury every summer
If we're doing things that get on our nerves during summer, I have to give an honourable mention to the TV and radio weather forecasters who insist on passing judgement on the weather rather than just telling us what it's going to do.

28 degrees in blazing sunshine is a "beautiful day, make the most of it" to the lads and lasses on North West Tonight, while they'll predict without fail that it's "going to get worse as the week progresses", with the map showing lovely cool temperatures and much-needed drizzle.

Some of us like cold weather, some like hot weather, no need for the TV to tell us what we should think. You'd think TV people would prefer the drizzle because it means more folk will be in watching their stuff!
posted by winterhill at 12:33 PM on June 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


**Just a heads up, I created a MetaTalk Heat Wave Check-In thread for people to discuss weather and cooling tips/tricks. **
posted by Fizz at 12:35 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


hot drinks in the summer will cool you off faster than cold ones

In the desert drinking mint tea: maybe! On a subway platform drinking a paper cup of hot coffee: sweat rolling down the buttcrack!
posted by uncleozzy at 12:37 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I left Seattle May 10th on a cross-country cycling tour

Hey that's great. My friend is about to depart on one this weekend.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:37 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


hot drinks in the summer will cool you off faster than cold ones

Hmm, I thought this had been debunked. I'm off to google a bit.
posted by Fizz at 12:39 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm not scoffing, it's just sort of hard to understand the reaction. I know it's different everywhere, 95°F is hot in Atlanta, 95°F is warm in Phoenix, but it's hard to imagine 80's being freak out hot under any conditions.

But then it's 105°F and I don't turn on the air conditioning in the car unless someone's riding with me.

You get used to it if you grow up with it, and if you don't it's a lot harder.

I think you can also get used to it living somewhere.
posted by bongo_x at 12:42 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


My body thermostat is not set to where I grew up and never adjusted to anywhere I lived (too hot! too cold! too dry!) until I moved to Scotland and suddenly my body went, "YES YES THE COOL GREY DAMP THIS IS WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED YESSSSSSS."

Meanwhile my poor spouse gets grumpy whenever the summer fails to heat up past sweater weather.
posted by kyrademon at 1:00 PM on June 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


I also live in a semi-arid environment. 95 degrees is still hot. It's a reasonably tolerable hot with shade and plenty of liquids, but it's still hot. And in a humid environment, 85 degrees is hot - in fact, the heat index in Atlanta at 87 degrees is currently only 4 degrees off Phoenix's at 100 degrees.

You can be as macho as you like about your personal thermostat, but plenty of people die of heat and it doesn't have to be recordsetting to do it.
posted by tavella at 1:00 PM on June 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


In my last unairconditioned apartment I had really good luck with blinds that blocked sunlight, cracking the tops of the windows, and two fans: one window fan set on circulate (one rotor blowing in and one out), and a high strength fan on the floor angled up. I'm not a thermal engineer, but it seemed to bring the cool air on the floor up, while also venting the heat. I was even lazy about minding time of day and my place felt livable even in the worst heat.
posted by codacorolla at 1:07 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Look, I'm not saying it's a bit warm here right now, but at court in Bradford today the judge not only informed us via the usher that we wouldn't be 'robing' (i.e. my opponent and I didn't have to wear wig and gown) but he removed his jacket and invited counsel to do likewise.

Anyone familiar with the sartorial conservatism of the English legal system will recognise this as a sign that we're practically in post-apocalyptic social collapse.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:22 PM on June 29, 2018 [42 favorites]


Oh shit I’m flying to London on Sunday.
posted by nikaspark at 1:23 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don't forget that easy access to pedestal fans and the like isn't really a thing in the UK

I’m seeing a fair number of Dyson bladeless rather than the traditional style this year, but I don’t think that’s what you mean?
posted by Segundus at 1:23 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh shit I’m flying to London on Sunday.

Not to worry, your melting aircraft makes for a lovely cushioned landing, if a bit goopy. 😱
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:42 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


cooker girl: At the very least in all of the tube trains.

The problem for the old deep tube lines is that there's no where for the heat to go. London Transport would love to fit AC to all the tube trains, but it's not physically possible because there's nowhere to dump the heat.

The deep tube lines used to be nice and cool, but they've been slowly heating up over the last century as the Tube has dumped heat into the surrounding clay. At some point in the future this is going be a huge problem when it becomes too hot to run those tube lines at all.
posted by pharm at 1:56 PM on June 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


Oh shit I’m flying to London on Sunday.

It's really not hot compared to places that are hot... so don't worry... we get a few weeks of this most years, some years a bit more, and it's not worth the expense of installing air conditioning in most homes. A lot of offices have it, though, and department stores, gyms that sort of thing. McDonalds had it when I was a child, I remember it feeling uncomfortably cold. Anyway, the domestic expense isn't worth it for the relatively short period of relief.

People do buy air conditioning boxes from Robert Dyas that probably don't work that well, but do do something even if it's just making a bit of noise.

Robert Dyas is a chain of household goods stores. I usually buy my toasters there. Since I have to replace them every couple of years I'd probably be better off buying a more expensive, longer-lasting toaster from a better shop, but I'm an idiot.

It's OK. The sun is shining, or it was this afternoon, and that's nice. The nasty weather is when it's overcast and cold, hot enough to make you sweaty but too cold to go without a jumper and clammy. That's the worst.

We talk about the weather a lot, perhaps to excess, partly because it's changeable and unpredictable enough that it's a reliable topic of conversation, and also it's something that anyone can have an opinion about without getting into politics.
posted by Grangousier at 2:02 PM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


I think you can also get used to it living somewhere.

i am living proof that this is not true; i have lived in the humid and the heat nearly all my born days and i still have roughly the same temperature requirements as a class A1 server and fail to operate as designed whenever i get above about 80F and summer is literally T H E W O R S T
posted by halation at 2:04 PM on June 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


The solution to the tube and to home AC is heat pumps.
Efficient heating in winter plus cooling in summer AND if people in London installed ground source heat pumps they could suck all the excess heat out of the clay and cool the tube at the same time.

Heat in the tube tunnels is rising a lot less quickly now though because they've replaced friction based brakes with regenerative brakes turning energy into electricity into of into heat.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:18 PM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Okay so the 98 degree temperature in Austin right now has a heat index of 105 degrees and I AM FUCKING ANGRY ABOUT THIS HEAT THIS IS STUPID WHY DO PEOPLE FUCKING LIVE HERE. and you’re saying it’s nowhere near that hot in London? If so then we’re good, bring me your heat, London.
posted by nikaspark at 2:39 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, absolutely, you'll probably need a jumper, if not an overcoat. It's nice, though. Any city looks its best in the sunshine and London more than most. When you get here, if the sun's shining, take a walk along the river. On the South Bank past St Paul's on the other side, it's positively Canaletto when the sky's blue.

The heat thing is definitely blown out of proportion, even actual British people think so. But the world seems to be falling to bits, the country appears to be doing to itself what Hannibal got Mason Verger to do to his face, so it's a useful distraction.

I mean, there's no CO2 for the beer pumps, but the best beer is hand-pumped anyway, so no problem.
posted by Grangousier at 2:48 PM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


In the December 1991 issue of Natural History, Jared Diamond wrote the article "Pearl Harbor and Emperor's Physiologists" with the subtitle:
     Our ability to feel comfortable in hot climates depends on where we spend the first few years of of childhood

In short, everyone has a set number of sweat glands, but the number that are activated depends on the climate you lived the first few years of your life. This was discovered by Japanese physiologists before WWII when studying the children of Japanese immigrants to the Asian and Pacific tropics.

So, the newest UK generation will be able to handle the heat better than the current.

(I remember reading this article in the magazine left on my cousin's coffee table in Queens during a visit to him in the 90's. I've been meaning to look it up for years, and this post prompted me to do so.)
posted by ShooBoo at 3:06 PM on June 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Whereas the choice used to be standard fruit flavours such as strawberry and orange in bright colours and novelty shapes, a wave of new British food brands have begun serving up “gourmet lollies” aimed at adults, with adventurous flavours ranging from Earl Grey tea to alcoholic watermelon martini popsicles.

Pro tip: Dump about two or three tablespoons of Earl Grey tea into a 750 ml bottle of vodka. Let it sit for a day, strain out the loose tea and return the vodka to the bottle.

Serve with lemon soda (like Sanpellegrino limonata or similar) over lots of ice, mixed to a strength of your choosing.

OR.

The lemonade you deserve served with lots of ice cubes made from Earl Grey tea.

Yesssss.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:17 PM on June 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Suddenly reminded of Black Books.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:30 PM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


They have had for real, engineering competitions to find solutions to cool the Tube, and the prize money went unclaimed. So I guess, if you've solved the problem, write to TFL and claim the cash?

I can't remember going this long without rain for a long time, my water butts have been empty for about two weeks now, and there's no sign of when they might get filled again. This heat isn't unusual, but to have had such a long stretch of it is.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:49 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


An FPP from last summer has some weather-related things in it, but is centred around the London Tube and the clay it's dug through heating up.
posted by Wordshore at 3:54 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've lived in the UK for 47 years and I don't even have a pedestal.
posted by biffa at 4:16 PM on June 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Okay so the 98 degree temperature in Austin right now has a heat index of 105 degrees and I AM FUCKING ANGRY ABOUT THIS HEAT THIS IS STUPID WHY DO PEOPLE FUCKING LIVE HERE.

My family owned a dry-cleaners in Dallas, Texas when we were growing up. Every summer after the age of 12, I worked in a boiler room with steam presses. It was not pleasant. Next time you see a dry-cleaner in Texas, buy him/her a glass of lemonade. They deserve it.
posted by Fizz at 4:17 PM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Keep thinking about all those firefighters out there in the North American West right now. . . so many red flag warnings for them, and in all the areas with extreme fire danger, and it's just so hot for them to be working. Hopes of safety for them.

And El Niño's coming, too.

but they've been slowly heating up over the last century as the Tube has dumped heat into the surrounding clay.

and
anyone familiar with the sartorial conservatism of the English legal system will recognise this as a sign that we're practically in post-apocalyptic social collapse.

It was 40 °C/105 °F here in Colorado U.S.A. yesterday. I work from home, on a microscope, and the light source + scope give off so much heat that my office area registered 42° C (109 °F) yesterday. It was dry heat, so mostly doable with some fans, though I was so grateful to work from home because I had to work in my underwear. But it got so hot my sweat was pooling in the eyepieces, blurring the slides so much I had to stop working because I couldn't see anything despite my best efforts to suck out the sweat with a pipette.

The slides just happen to be samples from an English colleague for a big, multi-country climate change research project. Not sure if that's ironic or metaphorical or what, but it's something.

Anyway, my English colleague has been complaining in a professional forum about the heat in his office, which is in an English museum basement, so I posted a pic of the sweat blurred field of view to tease him, and he in turn posted a geologic map of England, pointing out that his office is so much hotter because it's in the London clay and the London clay is full of heat and moisture/humidity. Which prompted other colleagues to point out their (inevitable) underground offices are in much, much warmer clays of the famous English clays, like the Oxford clay, because it's greyish/black and the London clay is only brownish grey so it's much, much cooler. Like, actually talking about the spectral properties of the clay and posting thermal dynamics/absorption/radiation graphics and equations related to Planck's law, and then French and Italian colleagues were like, oh yeah, what about *this* clay?! and the Londoners are yelling BUT THE TUBE. THE HEAT FROM THE TUBE YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU GEOLOGIC HEATHENS and others are yelling about the chalks acting as heat seals and others are all, but we have SALT! and oh my fine MeFite friends, an actual argument has broken out over what European geology is the hottest in which to have an underground office. It's about one-third #2018things and two-thirds hilarious.
posted by barchan at 4:21 PM on June 29, 2018 [31 favorites]


The heat thing is definitely blown out of proportion, even actual British people think so.

Of course, plenty of actual British people don't think so.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I watched the weather forecast for Italy earlier. It's going to be sunny here tomorrow. Everywhere.
posted by biffa at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was being hyperbolic

Hypergolic, surely?
posted by aramaic at 5:43 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm not scoffing, it's just sort of hard to understand the reaction. I know it's different everywhere, 95°F is hot in Atlanta, 95°F is warm in Phoenix, but it's hard to imagine 80's being freak out hot under any conditions.

a) I'm pretty sure 75 was the absolute hottest I experienced in 18 years growing up in a town on the (sunny!) south coast of Ireland. When I was doing my PhD we had a longstanding bet with a fellow student from Delhi - if it went above 25 (77F) he owed us beer but he never had to pay out in the 4 years he was here. It's all about what you're used to.
b) The humidity varied by a lot in different parts of the country today but it's generally high (being surrounded by ocean) and hit 95% in the west.
c) 0% of homes have air con, half of offices have air con that's good at heating but not at cooling (ours had some issue that made it 30C/86F indoors at one point).
d) Different places are set up for different things. If it rained 260 days out of 365 in Phoenix next year they probably would have some kind of issue too.
posted by kersplunk at 5:46 PM on June 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Which prompted other colleagues to point out their (inevitable) underground offices are in much, much warmer clays of the famous English clays, like the Oxford clay, because it's greyish/black and the London clay is only brownish grey so it's much, much cooler. Like, actually talking about the spectral properties of the clay and posting thermal dynamics/absorption/radiation graphics and equations related to Planck's law, and then French and Italian colleagues were like, oh yeah, what about *this* clay?! and the Londoners are yelling BUT THE TUBE.

London is a huge concrete heat island. I was there last week. A guy in my company walked into work in a white shirt and ended up soaked in sweat revealing much unintended information about his distribution of hair.
posted by kersplunk at 5:49 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


The handrails build up that special sheen which you know is the result of being repeatedly smeared by thousands of hands with a light coating of sweat, sebum, snot, urine, pus, saliva, tears, sputum, mucopurulent exudate, burger grease, semen, and shit. But grab one and hold tight, or you’ll fall over.
TIL JG Ballard faked his own death and took up commenting on MetaFilter (I approve!)

In short, everyone has a set number of sweat glands, but the number that are activated depends on the climate you lived the first few years of your life.
As a possibly criminally sweaty person, this is amazing and surprisingly validating despite being "obvious".
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:46 PM on June 29, 2018


I've lived in the UK for 47 years and I don't even have a pedestal.

There’s a form to fill out.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:38 PM on June 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


30C = 86F
Scruss, I don't think we're married but I like a fan on a hot night, and I really like thunderstorms.
Pharm, That makes sense and is quite interesting.
ShoeBoo, huh, interesting. I grew up in the Ohio River Valley, with many hot summer days with sticky, gooey humidity. No AC as a kid. I don't love high humidity, but I manage it okay.

I like summer here in Maine where it's usually cool at night. No AC; I live across the street from a lake, and have access rights. I danced this evening, was miserably hot and sweaty, came home and walked into the lake. The sandals are meant to dry fast, the water was cool and I just hitched up my skirt, though if it were hotter, I'd have just swum in it, or left it on shore. I've done that before. The moon is just past full and was rising, somebody down the lake was setting off fireworks that I could just see above the trees. For y'all in cities with pavement that absorbs heat and not enough trees and all, I'm sorry. That's miserable. But for several months I get to have the windows open. I can wear a tshirt and shorts. By August, maybe even mid-July, my body will forget what winter feels like.

Global Climate Change. It's gonna be a bitch.
posted by theora55 at 9:15 PM on June 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Just came back from a cross-USA driving trip. 104 in Utah two days ago. Lots of high nineties across South Dakota, through Kansas City, and all through Georgia and Florida...

Of course, it was snowing in Yellowstone the day before the high 90s in SD.
posted by Windopaene at 9:17 PM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


It helps that I am having a beer and just had an extremely low-brow Hurricane - Hawaiian Punch Freeze Pops with bourbon. Exigent Circumstances.
posted by theora55 at 9:24 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Do all you UK people do the "open windows late at night, close at dawn" thing when it's hot? This really, really makes a difference

That difference being that you wake up to find your house has been burgled.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:55 AM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


That difference being that you wake up to find your house has been burgled.
Which means you don't have lots of electronics producing lots of heat anymore. Problem solved! ~submits top tip to Viz~
posted by winterhill at 2:01 AM on June 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Robert Dyas is a chain of household goods stores. I usually buy my toasters there. Since I have to replace them every couple of years I'd probably be better off buying a more expensive, longer-lasting toaster from a better shop, but I'm an idiot.
I've literally never heard of it! On further investigation, it looks like a (slightly) posher Southern version of Boyes, a useful shop which appears not to have changed since the 70s and sells seemingly everything (even pedestal fans). It's one of the only chains where you can still get stuff like fabric for making your own curtains.
posted by winterhill at 2:08 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been in York all week. Many locals have complained to me about the heat. As mentioned above, buildings are not climate controlled and this causes an issue with trapping heat. Also, if you're not used to heat it can be a tough adjustment.

However, every single house I've seen is brick, including the house we've been staying in. It's allegedly gone up to 30 outside some days, but inside - on the ground floor, at least - it's been no problem to keep it to about 22 degrees. I have actually been shocked at how easy it is to keep the house cool! So long as the curtains are kept closed for the first couple of hours of sun, which is not a problem as I tend to be asleep at 4:30am, it's been fine.

When we were in London it was quite different. Georgian townhouse, we were staying in the former servant's quarters on the top floor, which had one small window. It was basically impossible to ventilate. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in that room this week.
posted by rednikki at 2:49 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


> I work from home and, for me, keeping the curtains closed on the bright side of the apartment works best.

To upgrade that thought technology even further, a friend of mine recommended blackout curtain liners like this a few years back, and it's astonishing what a difference they make.
posted by lucidium at 8:17 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Met Office "Outlook for the UK over the next 6-30 days" reads:

UK Outlook for Thursday 5 Jul 2018 to Saturday 14 Jul 2018:
Thursday and Friday will stay largely dry with plenty of sunshine, but with the risk of isolated thunderstorms, especially in the south. Temperatures will widely remain well above the average, with very warm or hot conditions and probably feeling humid in the south, with some warm nights too, especially in urban areas. Into the weekend and it looks like high pressure builds from the Atlantic, with much of the UK staying dry and very warm with sunshine. However, there is the risk of cloudier and breezier conditions with the chance of some rain in the far north and northwest. Into the following week and we hold onto the dry, settled and very warm conditions in central and southern areas, but perhaps some rain at times, especially in the far north.

UK Outlook for Sunday 15 Jul 2018 to Sunday 29 Jul 2018:
For the rest of July, the most likely scenrio is that the fine weather looks set to predominate across the UK, with mostly dry, sunny and warm conditions, especially in the south. However, there are likely to be interludes of less settled weather, with some rain at times, especially across the far north and northwest of the country. Temperatures overall are likely to be above average during the second half of July, with some further very warm spells possible. However, temperatures may return to near average at times, particularly in any changeable spells of weather.

So, looking at the already considerable demand for water, come August and it looks like those residents of the Midlands and South of England will be legally forced to take one shower with your neighbour per week only. {looks at neighbour out of window} Yeah, think I might fly to somewhere much more moist well before then.
posted by Wordshore at 9:54 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]




Google will convert Fahrenheit to Celsius (and vice versa) for those interested in doing so.
posted by um at 5:59 PM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also Kelvin. It's 297° K in North Lambeth right now.
posted by Grangousier at 2:33 AM on July 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


> I've lived in the UK for 47 years and I don't even have a pedestal.

There’s a form to fill out.


"...

22: Naval Combat: Please circle the enemy fleets you have defeated:
American. Dutch. (French.) Portuguese. (Spanish.) ...

22.a: Were you mortally wounded in this/these battle(s)?
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:54 AM on July 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


As an Australian who rather takes sunny summers for granted, I love watching Brits on sunny days. It's seems like almost a compulsion to Go Outside, and Wear Shorts and Buy Ice Cream and if close enough Go To The Beach. I was in Glasgow once in May when it hit 26C, and the entire town put on shorts and went to the park. April in Wales watching teenagers on the train with their boogie boards going to the beach, yes, it was sunny, but it was 14C and blowing a gale.

I was talking to a scottish woman who'd moved to Sydney for work, and she was saying that her first summer had been exhausting, because they were never home as the weather was always so nice. It had taken them awhile to realise that they could actually stay home and do the vacuuming and watch tv, even if it was nice out. Because it was probably going to be sunny again tomorrow, and the next weekend too.
posted by kjs4 at 9:50 PM on July 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


I love watching Brits on sunny days. It's seems like almost a compulsion to Go Outside, and Wear Shorts

I was with some Irish guys many years ago in L.A. They stripped down to their shorts and laid out in the sun, and couldn't stop talking about it. It was maybe 70. We were saying "what the hell is wrong with you, it's jacket weather".
posted by bongo_x at 10:03 PM on July 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


On a bleaker note: moorland fires continue, might blaze for another week.

Whether or not we're wusses for not coping with temperatures over 25C, our natural landscape is really not prepared for prolonged heat and drought. Dried-out peat with dried-out vegetation on top of it catches fire fast and does not go out easily. Peat will keep smouldering underground and then a fire will pop up somewhere else. Fires on this scale cause prolonged damage to the local ecosystem even when they don't incinerate anything else on their way through.

On the other hand all the people who were cheerfully saying "and where's this global warming NOW, hmmmm?" during the snow in March have temporarily shut up, so there's that.
posted by Catseye at 1:22 AM on July 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


On a bleaker note: moorland fires continue, might blaze for another week.
The bad news is that the Winter Hill TV/radio mast is out of peril, which means Love Island continues unimpeded.

On a serious note, people are actually going up there and setting more fires deliberately. I don't know what possesses people to do this. Yes, no one lives up on Winter Hill so as long as the mast is unharmed it's not endangering anyone's property, but there's the public resources and more importantly the lives of the firefighters involved in putting out these totally unnecessary escalations of the fire.
posted by winterhill at 2:21 AM on July 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


Current status.
posted by Wordshore at 7:34 AM on July 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's seems like almost a compulsion to Go Outside, and Wear Shorts and Buy Ice Cream

I've noticed this too! I don't really think that British infrastructure is built for temperatures in excess of 25 degrees C. The buildings keep the heat in, the tubes and buses become like furnaces... it's just a mess. No wonder people want to rush outside in their holiday wear and lie around in the parks... it's the only place where the heat is bearable. I get that for people who aren't used to it, it's really hard to not take this kind of weather for granted.

As someone who lives in the UK now but grew up in South Asia I fail to see the fascination with hot weather, which means that it takes an effort on my part to stop myself grumbling whenever the weather gets hot. I even posted an AskMe about it!

I'm improving though - I've barely complained at all this summer and instead used up that energy in brainstorming delicious new smoothie recipes to experiment with in the heat. (Guys, the strawberries are unbelievably delicious at the moment; I got some organic strawberries from Tesco at the weekend which knocked my socks off.)
posted by Ziggy500 at 10:08 AM on July 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


it was 111 here today and i am gonna fight the sun
posted by poffin boffin at 3:46 PM on July 2, 2018 [6 favorites]


"A man got his foot stuck in a sinkhole when the road MELTED beneath his feet. The unnamed 24-year-old, who was on his way to buy breakfast, became trapped as the tarmac had melted in the heatwave and gave way underneath him." (Also, BBC which has a picture of the costly and advanced technology security cordon set up after the incident)

Disappointed at the lack of description of his breakfast
posted by Wordshore at 2:56 PM on July 5, 2018 [7 favorites]


"But by Wednesday this maximum would have plunged five degrees, experts are warning."

Oh no! PLUNGED! A whole FIVE DEGREES! Klaxon! Break out the woolies, extra thick duvet and thermal underwear.
posted by Wordshore at 4:58 AM on July 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


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