Perhaps the only good news about the spate of heat waves in the northern hemisphere is that it is late fall and most people welcome them. That is certainly the case in Calgary, where the average high temperature has been 7.7ºC(45.8ºF). That may seem cold to some people, but it’s a lot warmer than 0ºC(32ºF), the average Calgary temperature this time of year. The heat wave is expected to last for another week. A heat wave happens any time the temperature exceeds the average by 5ºC(2.7ºF). In Macungie, Pennsylvania, while most people are enjoying warmer weather, the region’s ski hills may be forced to open late, as they are not getting any snow. Of course, when heat waves can make temperatures unbearable, as the ongoing heat waves in South Africa and Australia are relentless. Temperatures in Johannesburg recently hit 41ºC(105ºF). In addition to the scorching heat, they are dealing with their worst drought in over 30 years. Five of nine provinces are considered agricultural disaster zones. Many farmers are losing cattle to dehydration and malnourishment. The surviving herds are sometimes emaciated. Some farmers are being forced to sell of their herds at what are no doubt fire sale prices to prevent further losses. Many farmers have planted their crops late, and some may not plant them at all. Alarmingly, the country may be forced to import corn, a staple food, which would result in increased prices.
Too much rain was also an issue this week, with Florida seeing severe crop damage and flooded streets. In Miami-Dade county, flooding may have cost one farmer, John Alger of Alger farms up to $1 million. Alger fears the costs of these damages will be passed on to consumers, increasing the price of food over the winter. In addition to the farms that were flooded, dozens of cars in Kendall were stranded, and at least two people required rescue. The Miami Zoo was also closed due to flooding, and it remains closed. This is largely because zoo patrons are kept safe from dangerous animals by large moats that are usually seven feet lower than they currently are. Meanwhile Chennai, India is experiencing severe flooding which killed at least 180 people in the most recent episode. The rainfall that caused the flooding is the most the city has seen in over a century. Chennai airport is shut down, and thousands of people are homeless as a result of the deluge, which is expected to continue for at least another two days.
Unfortunately, the tragic events we reported on are in no way a full reflection of what has been going on in the world. If you would like to see all of our recent headlines, please click here.