Yes it is hot and this so far, is the hottest on record as we have the hottest part of the summer coming.
Yes, in case you were wondering, it has been hotter than usual for this time of year. It’s not even technically summer until Tuesday, but temperatures in parts of south Louisiana are already flirting with 100 degrees, the National Weather Service has issued a succession of heat advisories — and it’s only expected to worsen. “There are days I can’t come out here because of the heat,” said Jennifer Peters, who does psychic readings outside of Jackson Square. She has an umbrella and a small battery-powered fan on her table to combat the heat. She’s been providing spiritual guidance in the French Quarter for six years but recently has taken more days off because of higher temperatures. “It’s the hottest it’s ever been. Usually it would be wind keeping me from coming out, but now I’m looking forward to the wind,” Peters said. Last week, the state’s climatology office said temperatures so far in June have been above normal across nearly all of Louisiana, tweeting: “If you think it has been a hot start to June in Louisiana, you are not wrong.”nola.COM
The NWS says that temperatures can hit 100 or close to. Already the heat indexes have passed that level.
The National Weather Service’s forecast office for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas warned of temperatures approaching or exceeding 100 degrees in the coming days. “Hitting 100 degrees in this area is uncommon, but very rare during June,” the forecast office tweeted on June 14. According to State Climatologist Barry Keim, the warm and humid air that blows in from the Gulf of Mexico is to blame for these temperatures. While climate change is gradually turning up the heat worldwide, Keim said he is hesitant to directly attribute the current above-average temperatures to global warming. “All I can really do is shrug my shoulders and say maybe,” he said. “It’s certainly consistent with what climate change is expected to throw at us. But it’s not like we’ve never had heat waves before either.”
We have had fewer afternoon showers this year which contributes to the problem.
Part of the problem this year is that there have been fewer afternoon showers to cool Louisianans off. This is due to a high pressure weather system that is keeping storm clouds from forming as often as they normally would. High levels of Saharan dust could also be to blame for the fewer afternoon showers. By June 16, there had been accumulated rainfall of 1.95 inches recorded at the New Orleans airport’s weather station. In a normal year, that weather station would have gotten over four inches of rain by the same day in June. Of the hottest 10 Junes on record in the New Orleans area, five have occurred since 2006. As of June 15, this month’s average temperature was only a half-degree cooler than the 10th year on that list. “Above-normal temperatures are favored over a large swath of the country, with the highest probabilities centered over the Southeast,” Forecaster Daniel Barandiaran of the federal Climate Prediction Center wrote in a forecast discussion. According to the center, there’s a 70-80% chance for temperatures to be above normal in Louisiana for the rest of June. And, the National Weather Service expects more heat advisories to come. “Upper 90s for today will help keep the heat advisory going, and this may be posted each successive day for the next several days,” NWS forecaster Hannah Lisney wrote in a forecast discussion Friday. “Remember, heat is cumulative.”
People have noticed the increase in heat but other like to tan and sweat.
Tree, who works for Need A Ride Nola, said that since he started working as a pedicab biker in 2016, he’s noticed the summer heat coming sooner, and feeling hotter. Still, he enjoys feeling the sun on his skin and working up a sweat. “It might be climate change. Maybe it’s a cycle that comes around and it’s really not change,” Tree said. “Now why would anyone want to get on a giant tricycle and pull people around? You have to be on a little bit of a different vibration.” Usually Need A Ride bikers will pedal on a ride for at least half an hour, and often ride for multiple hours. Tree rides for four days out of the week, with the occasional vacation. But, he doesn’t have plans so far to escape the New Orleans heat. “If you’ve got stuff to show them, they’ve got time to listen,” Tree said of his customers. “And a few of us have a lot to show.”
Mules pulling the carriages are being treated better than pedicab bikers are treating themselves.
Royal Carriages, a mule carriage service, has also been affected by the temperatures. During the summer, the service has built in strict 30-minute breaks to its ride schedule. Royal Carriages also doesn’t provide rides during the afternoon, splitting up the day between morning and evening. “Ten years ago, we probably would have been able to work through the entire day,” said Benjamin Speight, director of training and livestock management for Royal Carriages. Carriage drivers carry buckets to fill with water for each of their mules to avoid crowding at the water trough, and they spray the mules with water to help them cool off. The drivers are also encouraged to drink Gatorade and plenty of water. Mules are more resistant to heat than horses, but they can still fall victim to heat exhaustion. That’s why Speight ensures that any mules that are sensitive to the heat either work evening rides or none at all until temperatures begin to cool down. Carriage drivers also watch their mules closely to see if they need a longer break, or to stop giving rides for the day. “It’s not worth the chances of something bad happening,” Speight said. “A person falling out or an animal falling out.”
Treat yourselves as the mules are being treated. Drink water, don’t go out in the afternoon and jump in a pool to cool off!