When it comes to old wives' tales about winter’s severity, America relies on Punxsutawney Phil. But where should our nation go for fur-based forecasts during the warmer months?
A nearby backyard, it turns out. Meet the Rudin WeatherCanine 8000, or "Gus" as it's known for short (note: this product has not been approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):
“My dog won’t go outside,” says ABC7 meteorologist Steve Rudin. “It’s too hot for him.”
Understandable: It’s been too hot for a lot of mammals. Yesterday, about a dozen visiting students from Cleveland succumbed to the tongue-parching air; fans at the Nats game were fainting like Southern belles exposed to the crude advances of a common apple knocker.
A Code Orange air-quality alert and a heat advisory lasting until 8 p.m. stands for the D.C. region today. The heat advisory could be extended to Wednesday if clouds at night slam a lid on the heat energy, which is being pumped into town from a large area of high pressure near the coast that's acting like a “heat pump,” says Rudin.
How hot will it be today? The heat index – a wind-chill analogue based on the way humidity produces “feels-like” temperatures above the actual readings – is expected to reach up to 105 degrees. That’s nearing what it takes to prepare a sous-vide medallion of venison. Record highs at all three local airports could be broken, although the busting is most likely to happen with Dulles' record of 94 degrees in 1991. (It was 99 degrees the same year at Reagan.) To understand just how moisture-coated coworkers will be today, the average temperature for this time of year is around 80.
Locals with no air conditioning might notice tonight – as they grapple with bed sheets that feel as if they've come out of the clothes dryer, pores opened into miniature sweat Niagaras – that minimum temperatures are also unseasonably high. In fact, a record daily minimum temperature could be set on Tuesday if the mercury doesn’t drop below 71 degrees, the 2006 record at Dulles.
So Steve Rudin's dog will definitely be sweating profusely through its footpads, because it turns out that's just how dogs perspire. Should D.C.-area residents take the hound's reluctance to venture outdoors as an omen of a particularly virulent summer?
Perhaps not. “He also won’t go outside when it’s raining. He’s very peculiar in his ways,” says Rudin.