Pat Shingleton: "Heat Bursts and Mr. Cool..."
Since early June we have experienced four episodes of Heat Advisories. In Portugal on July 6, 1949, meteorological observers reported a temperature increase from 100 to 158 degrees in two minutes. On June 15, 1960 at Lake Whitney, Texas, the temperature soared to 140 degrees in three minutes with 100 mph winds. This rapid temperature rise toasted a nearby cotton field and fired-up car radiators to the boiling point. These are examples of heat bursts that traditionally form after sunset and are associated with thunderstorms that cut off warm, moist air thus collapsing the storm. Rain on the topside of the thunderhead sinks into cooler, drier air, compressing it and bopping it to the ground as a hot wind, creating 100 m.p.h. air blasts. Tropical Storm Barry caused power outages that may be restored today and with the power - the power of the air conditioner will return. It begs the question, “What would we do without it?” Some folks have had to deal "without it" since last Friday. Today marks the 107th anniversary of the invention of modern air conditioning. In the 1900s, a Brooklyn printing plant was the first building in the world to be air conditioned by Dr. Willis Haviland Carrier. Older Baton Rouge homes still have a large attic fan that prior to air conditioning was used to move air from room to room. Carrier’s cooling plant divided the air into two streams, one heated and the other cooled. In each room, these two air streams are proportionately mixed to produce a desired temperature.