Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Eyewitness Report on California Heat Wave

Yesterday, Tuesday July 25, I flew from Moline, Illinois to Modesto, California with my family. My wife's brother Tim is getting married on Saturday. It was 112 degrees in Modesto when we arrived. It will be that hot again today but it is supposed to cool off a little by Saturday. The local news is full of reports of people and animals which have died from the heat. So many farm animals have died that the rendering plants are over-taxed and now in addition to the heat the piles of dead animals waiting to be hauled away are an additional sanitation and health problem.

We have not yet experienced any rolling blackouts but have experienced some of the other unique challenges California offers. My wife's niece who was driving up to Modesto from Los Angeles and had expected to be in Modesto in time to pick us up at the airport arrived hours late because a wild fire in the mountains had jumped the highway and all traffic was stopped for hours when the road became part of the front lines of the fire-fighting efforts. Fortunately we had already decided to rent a car and were able to wait for her in the comfort of our hotel room rather than at the airport.

The wedding and reception were planned months ago to be outdoors, usually a safe bet in the Central Valley in late July. With about 100 people expected there is no way to move everything in-doors. Everyone agrees that there exists no established appropriate dress code for a wedding and reception where the temperature is going to be 110 degrees. "Extremely casual" seems to be the consensus choice.

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