In The Netherlands, a heat wave is defined as 5 consecutive days where the maximum temperature exceeds 77 °F (25 °C) given at least 3 of those days exceeds 86 °F (30 °C). I know, some of you in the U. S. South would give up your first-born for temperatures like this right now. During my first summer in Amsterdam, we had a heat wave in early July. With no air conditioning in the house (which is not unusual), it was my biggest adjustment next to learning how to bike in the snow while toting groceries. Little did I know this “heat wave” with no A/C would be cake compared to what was ahead in August.
In the States, the definition of a heat wave is less defined as I discovered (i) a heat wave is where the temp is 90 °F (32 °C) or above for three consecutive days, (ii) a heat wave is an extended period of temperatures considered extremely high for a particular area, and (iii) a heat wave occurs when temperatures hover some 10° F above normal for several days and are accompanied by high humidity.
In Louisiana, at this very moment, I am experiencing something beyond a heat wave. Either my pilot had a little too much Mary Jane before departing ole A’dam and flew me to the Equator (or possibly the surface of the sun), or I am in some kind of pseudo-inferno-purgatory serving penance for the amazing 8 months I have had in Europe with G. When I left Amsterdam on Friday, I was enjoying lovely temperatures in the upper 60’s. Sixteen hours of travel later, I am welcomed by triple digits…as if 16 hours of travel wasn’t enough. The “lows” at night don’t even come near to the highs in Amsterdam right now. Three days later, my body is still in shock and I wonder how I survived for 25 years in Louisiana before fleeing north. I am also amazed by the number of people trekking around town in jeans!!! Heaven help them if they pass out from heat stroke. I’d be sporting a bikini for my daily wear if not for the ridiculous amount of food I recently inhaled in Spain.
Despite the weather man mocks me with a week-long forecast of triple digits, it is good to be home. It is wonderful to see my family and I am looking forward to seeing more family and friends over the next few weeks. I will savor the sunny (albeit scorching) days ahead as the overcast rainy A’dam days are not far off when I return.