Sunday, December 20, 2015

electrolytes help people survive the heat

50C (122F) is a a hot day in Phoenix. It's only ever made it to 50C once in the last hundred years, in 1990. We lived in the northern part of the state at the time, but grandparents had a flight that day, so I was present for the record.

Most summers it doesn't get past 49C/120F. Parker and Lake Havasu (along the Colorado River) get slightly warmer. 125F is a hot day in Lake Havasu, 128F is the record. Bullhead City (of Airwolf Helicopter fame), gets up into the mid-120's too. Someone who used to live in Parker told me that the water pipes are very close to the surface, so all their showers were hot showers in the summer.

Poll: heat, humidity, or cold?
This quote is from an article about the hottest recorded day in Arizona history: 
On the hottest day in Arizona history, a day when air conditioners in homes and businesses worked a little harder than they ever had before, the whole system worked the way it was supposed to. 
"I was getting calls from all over the world, from reporters and people I knew, asking, 'How are you holding up?' and 'Are you doing all right?'" Kellogg said. "We were doing fine. It's hot here. We get above 110 degrees for weeks, so we build that into the system. We never had a problem on our side."
Kellogg's team - he was overseeing the electrical division by 1994 - monitored the substations and the transformers, which had radiators installed to keep the equipment from overheating.
A few businesses called to complain their voltage was dropping, but it turned out to be a problem on their side of power lines. They had installed components that couldn't handle the load for such a long time.
"I don't think anybody had experienced this kind of heat for such a long time," Kellogg said. "The secret is you build a system that can handle the load and sustain it."
- (emphasis added)

Death Valley, California recorded a temperature of 134 a long time ago, but very few people actually live in that location, and their average temperature is only 1 degree warmer than Lake Havasu's.

I used to do much better with the heat than with the cold. One summer, when I lived in the northern part of the state (5000 ft elevation, typically 15-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix), I went to visit my grandfather in Phoenix. I waited for the hottest part of the day, then went outside to weed-wack his backyard. The heat was energizing.

When I got back inside I realized I was thirsty. I had some water, but it didn't touch the thirst. I drove back north, and was still parched. I had some more water, and it was not still refreshing. Then I realized I needed electrolytes, so I made my own version of lemonade, with lemon juice, lots of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt.

It was the most satisfying beverage I've ever had. I now know that the other electrolytes are important too.

Whenever my passengers complained about the heat, I'd tell them my story, and suggest that they get more salt.

(This diary started as a comment in k5 user mumble's diary, I survived the heat!)

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