Bring on the heat

Summer is fast approaching, and the heat might become unbearable for some without proper preparation.

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David Winter

The best way to beat the heat in the south is to escape the trapped air inside your home and car and breath in some fresh air, preferably while tubing.

By Samantha Powers, Cannon Falls High School

Sometimes, I feel like the humidity in Texas slows everything down. In addition to the stuffiness in the air, I have also experienced multiple heat-related annoyances. To explain, on the daily, sweat meanders down my spine and my tongue often turns into sandpaper from dehydration. From time to time, I feel like the oppressive heat might even consume me, but luckily, over the years, I have gathered a few tricks up my sleeve to stop myself from boiling over.

The key to surviving a Texas summer is distraction. Immerse yourself in activities that make the heat feel like a choice rather than a punishment. Jump in a lake, pool, or even some sprinklers and let the water refresh you. Treat yourself to an ice cream or snow cone, and I promise, within minutes your day will turn from parching to pleasant.

On the other hand, the newly uncharacteristic weather in America due to climate change has highlighted the shortcomings of our infrastructure.. When the recent record-setting snowstorm shut down the state for a whole week, icy roads became virtually unusable, and there was high demand for indoor heating, which led to massive power outages. Families were trapped in their houses with nothing to keep warm except for a few coats and blankets, and nothing to eat except sandwiches or, if one was lucky, a can of soup heated by a gas stove.

For many Texans who hadn’t seen snow like this before, the changing weather exposed the frightening unpreparedness of the state. Infrastructure is only built for the climate of the location, and as a result, people everywhere may need to prepare themselves for the unexpected before they are blindsided by Mother Nature.

In Minnesota, a majority of the state rarely experiences summer temperatures over 90 degrees, according to Weather Atlas. As someone who has experienced Texas summer temperatures of 110 degrees, this sounds like a cool and refreshing season. Though Minnesota generally only experiences cold winter extremes, with temperatures dropping well below zero in the Northern region, the rapidly changing climate indicates that Minnesotans may need to look for fun distractions to cope with the potentially hot summer ahead.

My first tip is to always have a cup of iced water with you. If your power goes out, and you can’t get ice from the refrigerator, you can buy bags at a local grocery store and stash them in a cooler. My family has more coolers than can be counted in our garage, but our favorite by far is the Yeti. I guarantee it can keep things cool.

My second tip is to go swimming a lot. I’m sure that in the “land of 10,000 lakes,” a suitable place to take a dip will not be hard to find. Swimming is a great way to cool off and make summer fun.

In Texas, people often take dips in the ocean to cool off in a fun way. (Marguerite Holes)

My third tip is that fresh air is always best. When you’re inside a house or a car without air conditioning, your surroundings act as an oven since the heat is trapped. Getting outdoors not only feels better, but it’s safer as well. And always remember to crack the windows of your car if you’re leaving it in the sun. We in Texas like to have sunshades to prop up in our windshields, which reflect the light and prevent too much heat from coming in.

There are also many things you can buy to alleviate the heat. One weird tool that has probably never been used in Minnesota is a battery-powered fan that shoots out mist. It’s a very specialized device, to be sure, but it is often just the trick to cool off, especially if a power outage renders anything plugged in useless.

And of course, you can never go wrong with ice cream, as long as you eat it fast. Good luck, Minnesotans, and we at the Shield wish you well in the summers to come.

This story was originally published on Lantern on April 19, 2021 and is a companion piece to this article.