Three cheers are due for a very pleasant July

More than likely you don’t remember July 26, 2005. I didn’t until I started thinking about what to write about for today.

Here are a couple of hints. On that date six years ago, Mumbai, India, was pelted with torrential rains. More than 5,000 people died.  The space shuttle Discovery was launched from the Kennedy Space Center that day, ending a two-and-a-half-year hiatus for the American space program after the breakup of the shuttle Columbia on its return to earth in February 2003.

I was grumpy that day. My roommate of the past three-plus decades might wonder what makes that different from any other day, but that’s beside the point. I suspect if you were in Mesa County that day you were grumbling too. People were talking about what people talk about all the time, except they really had reason to talk about the weather that day.

It was July 26, 2005,  when the thermometer in Grand Junction, Colo., topped out at 106 degrees. Never before, for as long as records had been kept in western Colorado’s largest city, had it been that hot. We’d seen 105 several times, but 106 was uncharted territory. It was, in a word, miserable.

Let’s hope and pray it’s a record that is never broken. And let’s be thankful it wasn’t threatened this year. In fact, I’ll put July 2011 up there as my favorite July ever. July, if it matters to anyone other than me, is my least favorite month of the year. I’ll take a dark cold January or February over a miserably hot July any day.

I know what the all-knowing “they” say. It’s a “dry heat.” But a “dry” heat is still heat. And there’s not much good to be said about any temperature above 90. I say that knowing full well the risk I run. It’s dangerous territory, on par with questioning the intelligence of tea partiers, as I did last week. I’m bruised and battered, but still breathing.

Back to this July. Not only was the record high not in any danger of being eclipsed, the mercury only got to the triple digits one time, at least as of the date this is being written. As I wrote this on July 27, the record books indicated only on July 24 did it reach 100. There’s nothing in the forecast between now and when this is published on the last day of the month that indicates there’s a snowball’s chance in July of it happening again. (That sentence should prove once and for all that July is a terrible month. How could it not be if it is a synonym for hell?)

What’s more surprising, in a good way, is the number of days this month the temperature didn’t even reach 90.That’s happened nine times so far, and there are four more chances.

That’s not all the weather gods have given us this month.

I haven’t kept track of how many times I’ve watered my lawn this month. But I could count them all on one hand. In a typical July I water and water and water. Even then, the lawn has a dull, gray-green cast to it. It looks hot and tired, much like I feel. This year, with not nearly as much irrigation water, it’s bright green. It looks more like May or September. It’s all because of lower temperatures and more rain.

In addition to the low temperatures, we’ve been blessed with an abundance of afternoon thunderstorms and one glorious all-night-long soaker. Rainfall this month is running well more than twice the norm of about two-thirds of an inch.

One of life’s little pleasures is sitting on the front porch with the dog, reading a book and watching it rain. In these parts, one doesn’t get a chance to do that very often. This month I’ve done it four or five times.

So let’s all raise a glass to July 2011, one of those rare months that has defied all the trends and made an already wonderful place to live all that much better.

Denny Herzog is the retired executive editor of The Daily Sentinel. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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