Predictable Unpredictable Weather

Window condensation 08-22-2023

One thing about Missouri’s weather is it predictably unpredictable.

In the last month or so, we’ve gone from weeks of drought, torrential rains that flooded communities like Marble Hill (rain was falling at the rate of better than four inches an hour at my house, and about a week of the heat index above three digits, not counting the decimal point.

The Night of the Big Rain didn’t bring promised (dreaded) winds and hail, but the lightning was almost continuous.

That brought to mind Mark Twain’s comment, “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.”

Not only hot, it’s humid

You can see from the condensation on my basement window when I started up the stairs to go to bed that there’s a lot of moisture in the air

When the heat index was 106 (116 if you believe the local TV station), I elected to replace a dusk to dawn porch light that had decided to stay on all the time.

The whole process took about an hour, at which point you could ring sweat out of my cap, shirt, suspenders and underwear. I had other projects on my list, but I may put them on hold until the one week in November before temps drop below zero,



Drought Barely Dampened

I’ve been in Cape a couple days more than a month in the hottest stretch of weather since 1936. It might have sprinkled a couple of drops during that time, but I don’t remember them. We’ve had some flashes and rumbles that got hopes up for nothing.

This afternoon, though, the skies started to darken and the radar started showing a line of reds and yellows headed our way. I bought Mother a new portable weather radio, so I broke it out of its blister pack and started wading through the miniscule type to figure out how to set it up for Cape county and the area where her trailer is on Kentucky Lake. I was getting pretty close to done, I thought, when NOAA squawked out a severe thunderstorm warning. It startled me so much that I almost pitched it like a snake.

I decided to run out to the car before the rain started to get my video camera. Maybe we’d get something worthwhile.

Video of approaching (but not arriving) storm

We caught some pretty impressive wind in advance of the storm – the airport south of Cape logged a 53-mph gust. The initial rain pelted down hard, but then slacked off. That’s probably a good thing: the ground is so hard that anything that splashed down would have immediately run off.

The .014 inches of rain recorded at the airport in about an hour and a half won’t go far in helping what has been classified as an “exceptional drought.” Be ready for higher food prices. There’s no relief in sight.

Storms of 2011

What a difference a year makes.


How Hot is Cape Girardeau?

It is PLENTY hot. Blast furnace hot. As hot as Texas was one summer I was there, and I use that as a gauge for hot.

I rented a bike in Dallas for a weekend ride, and the poor thing skittered from one pool of shade to another. It was so hot a highway work crew had to hang out in an air conditioned pickup until it was their turn to lean on the shovel. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

100 degrees on the porch

Mother’s got one of the most comfortable porches in the universe. It faces east and is shaded, so you can generally sit out there in the hottest weather without even turning on the ceiling fan. Today, though, the thermometer on the wall registered just barely under an even 100 degrees.

That’s not a cardinal on the left; it was a bluebird. I TOLD you it was hot.

1969 high temperature record broken

A new high temperature reading of 106 degrees at the airport topped the previous high of 103 set in 1969. The bank sign at William and Mount Auburn thought it was 107.

It doesn’t look like we’re going to get much relief soon. The weather gurus have issued an excessive heat advisory to run through Monday evening.

Low reading on Mount Auburn

The lowest reading was just up Mount Auburn road from the 107 degree reading. I didn’t feel any pool of cool air when I stepped outside to photograph the sign showing 103 degrees.

108 in Jackson

This bank sign coming into Jackson from Cape says it’s 108 degrees. The grass is so brown and dry that it crunches when you step on it. This is not going to be a good year for shooting off fireworks.

Getting ready for hell and brimstone

The highest reading I found was at the Lutheran Church near the corner of Kingshighway and Cape Rock Drive. Maybe the pastor is getting the congregants ready for a real hell ‘n’ brimstone sermon on Sunday when temperatures are supposed to drop to a mild 104 degrees.

You can’t have this much heat without some big storms coming in behind it. I wonder if we’ll have a replay of last year. The ground is so dry and hard that a heavy rain would probably run off fast.

Location, Location, Location

These shots were on the rolls with the photos Jeane Adams I used for the End of Summer story. Some of her photos were taken at Cape Rock, so that explains the towboat photo. The Mississippi River looks almost as low as it was last fall. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Google is a wonderful thing. I blew the picture up large enough to be able to see that the towboat was The Albert M. of B & M Towing. A search found that the craft has been built by St. Louis Shipbuilding and Steel Company of St. Louis, located on the site at the foot of East Davis Street in the Carondelet section of St. Louis, where James B. Eads built the Union Navy’s gunboats during the Civil War.  It was called the Rohan Boat, Boiler & Tank Company when it was acquired by Herman Pott in 1933 and renamed St. Louis Shipbuilding & Steel Co.  It closed in 1984.

Research by someone named Ingo Steller said that the The Albert M. was built in 1965, so it was fairly new when it passed Cape Rock in September of 1966. It was renamed the The Liz Brent, and, most recently, rebranded as The City of Greenville.

Here’s a launch of a towboat I covered in in 1965 or ’66.

Dennis Scivally’s bridge

I had to smile a little when I saw this frame of the stone bridge in Dennis Scivally Park. At least three Facebook friends posted photos of that bridge on their Facebook pages today. It has to be one of the most-photographed landmarks in town since it was built in 1941. Here’s what the park looked like about this time last year.

For some reason, I didn’t shoot anything of Jeane in the park. There’s no telling why you get a feeling for a place on one day and not another.

Beating the heat

I guess I couldn’t persuade my model to hop on this cow cooling off in a pond. Looks a lot like the ones trying to keep from melting in Perry County last summer.