|How hot is it?
So hot, my personal deodorant had a chemical breakdown by merely watching the weather forecast at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
And how come Smyrna is often reported as Middle Tennessee’s “hottest” spot, temperature-wise, by regional television weather prognosticators?
I may know why.
Read below for this hot-off-the-press answer.
A recent Friday broke all recorded thermometer readings in Tennessee state history, dating back more than 140 years.
How hot is hot? As I stroke the keys of my computer, the temp reading, as of 4:41 p.m., on Friday, June 29, 2012, was an unofficial 114 degrees.
So hot, that during a recent Sunday morning church service, a neighbor reported a parishioner asked the pastor thusly after the church air conditioning failed: “Is this church or hell?”
If this latest record-breaking heat wave doesn’t make one believe in a heaven or hell, well, I best leave that to the cool-preaching pulpit pastors I know who know about such weighty spiritual matters.
I’m asking a highly trained meteorologist I know to research if this latest heat wave in June is the earliest ever to strike, in recorded weather history.
Not since 1952, have I personally suffered from extreme summer heat like we’ve experienced as a nation recently, and that was out in the broiling sun while picking and chopping cotton.
That hotter than Hades’ summer followed the extreme cold blizzard winter conditions of 1951 when much of Nashville was literally “snowed in.”
It was in the 1950s, I witnessed my farm mother nearly die from a heat stroke.
Mother’s splotched, extremely red face and head terrorized me, as an 8-year-old boy who had recently lost my father in a grinding car crash.
The extreme heat overcame mother as she was driving a John Deere tractor and cultivator, trying to combat extreme weed and vine growth in our soybean fields.
As older sister, June, applied cold towels over our mother’s throbbing head, Mom explained how her heat exhaustion happened.
“I was having to climb up and down from the tractor every row or two through the field,” she said, “to unclog the vines and weeds from around the plows.”
Although mother was known as a hard-working hands-on successful farmer back in the Bootheel farming region of southeast Missouri, she was never able to toil out in the broiling hot sun again.
What kind of toll is this latest heat wave having on us?
Nick, our middle son, is a truck-driving man.
“I was hauling an empty trailer away, near the Smyrna Nissan plant last Friday, when one of the tires blew out,” Nick described. “When we called for help, we were advised there had been so many tire blowouts on the interstate, that it would be more than four hours before they could send help.”
It’s so hot and dry, various Middle Tennessee government officials and fire safety officials issued “no burn” and “no fireworks” warnings leading to and through this Fourth of July week.
And health care officials are warning seniors and folks with chronic health issues, to stay inside in cool, comfortable dwellings, if possible.
As promised above, why is it that the Town of Smyrna often tops the list of hot cities during the Dog Days of Summer.
Smyrna Airport Executive John Black may have a very hot explanation.
“We have a weather reporting instrument station here on airport grounds, located on a pile of gravel and surrounded by pavement and the hot tarmac on our long landing strips … that could be the explanation,” Black said in issuing his non-official weather advisory.
A cool prayer might be in order here in sultry hot Middle Tennessee.