World of Thermo… Story 14… Heatin’ Up

After about 1975 Thermo noticed that the red instrument in the middle of his chest was reading hotter in places on the Earth and at times of the year where previously he thought that it had been much cooler during the first fourteen years of his existence.  He was making a lot of pains to fly around the planet and through the atmosphere taking readings for Dr. Carson.  Even Dr. Carson had to question climate theory due to some of the colder events of the 1970’s, which Thermo also took readings on.

The event which began to wake some people up to the thought that something was not right in the U.S. was the summer heat wave of 1980.  Carson had never seen a start to May so hot across the Plains. The readings coming from the center of Thermo’s chest were well above a hundred by late May in locations such as Dallas. Drought also began to accompany the heat. What could be going on?  High over the Plains a dome of sinking air was developing during the late spring, which was extraordinarily warm. To Thermo’s surprise and horror yet another entity appeared. The thing was thin as bat’s wings and was colored brown, the size of a parachute, and floating just below the atmospheric level where the Whispys reside, except that there wasn’t even one Wispy cirrus cloud in the sky that day. Buzzards were circling the entity and squawking.

Knowing what had happened before when had approached natural “monsters” Thermo used extra caution and staid his distance from what looked like a huge floating brown bag. Nevertheless, the thing did notice the two by four flying thermometer almost instantly since Thermo was the only object besides the sun in a bright, boiling sky.  The object in a deep but stoic female voice said, “What are you? I have never seen a human object as small as you are take flight so high in the sky.  Usually I find paper airplanes that human kids fly a lot lower to the ground.  My name is Heatia and my purpose is to cause heat waves and droughts. It pleases me to see vegetation and crops wither.”

The teenage Thermo retorted shyly, “Well that’s a shame. I like green meadows and pastures, and sparkling rivers and brooks.  I don’t want my human friend’s crops to fail causing their children to go hungry.”  Heatia responded, “I don’t care. My friends are buzzards and other carrion fowl, which feed off of the fruits of my labor. The hotter and drier I can bake an area, the better for MY friends.  I am the color of dust and sand, two of my favorite natural things. You look too puny to disturb me today, so beat it. I’m enjoying my new found strength thanks to my latest friend Carbo.”

This is the second time Thermo had heard the name Carbo. Who was Carbo and what did he have to do with Phoon and this new monster? Sadly, Thermo, through experience, knew that there was nothing he could do. He might try to chase Heatia around a bit, but who knew what deadly powers such an entity would possess. Thermo decided to beat a hasty retreat to the north into Canada, for now.  Dr. Carson was very alarmed to see Thermo’s readings in Hawaii from the Plains and South.

After a few months it was August, and to Thermo and Carson’s dismay, practically the entire U.S. was baking under a heat wave of epic proportions. Surface temperatures were soaring to near 120 in portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Across the Southeast several locations such as, Atlanta which got up to 105, for example, had reached all-time records as catalogued by human meteorologists. Themo knew he had to do something. Thermo, for the first time radioed his father for advice.  Dr. Carson suggested to Thermo, “Perhaps it is time to pit one growing “monster” against another.”  Thermo knew that Phoon produced plenty of cooling rain and wind and might purposefully disturb Heatia’s plans if rain were to spread onto dry land.

It just so happened that Phoon, with Carbo’s extra heat producing sea surface temperature powers, which were unknown to Thermo and Dr. Carson, was building up a super strong hurricane named Allen in the western Caribbean.  When Allen reached Category 5 intensity on August 5th, it became the earliest Category 5 storm recorded to that point in time in the Atlantic Basin. This record stood until Hurricane Emily surpassed that early date on July 16, 2005. At one point Phoon had increased Allen’s winds to as high as 190 mph off the Yucatan Peninsula.  Thermo decided to play another “you can’t catch me game” with Phoon, which might lead to putting a big dent and monkey wrench into Heatia’s drought plans in Texas.  Phoon in the form of Allen took notice of Thermo once the two by four thermometer was in the southern Gulf of Mexico.  Angered, Phoon gave chase.  Thermo led Allen westward into the Bay of Campeche away from the already strafed Yucatan Peninsula.

At this point, Heatia was on her guard. She did not want any rain from Phoon moving into Texas. The struggle between Heatia and Phoon was epic, just as Thermo and Dr. Carson wanted. After quickly jetting southward into Mexico out of the way of the “battle zone” and then ascending to jet stream levels Thermo witnessed Phoon lashing out at South Texas breaking down Heatia’s dome of high pressure, also in the world of meteorology called a middle level heat ridge.  Heatia in turn successfully weakened Allen with her dry air and steered the storm westward south of Brownsville.  Both natural “monsters” partially won the battle, with Phoon’s weakened Alan crashing and dissipated in Mexico while Heatia’s drought and heat wave getting dented in south Texas.  Dr. Carson thought, “Hmm, in the future we might be able to use Phoon and even The Clan of the Storms to thwart Heatia. Thermo may be more useful than just being an instrument measuring the slow warming of the planet.”  Little did Dr. Carson know that the events of 1980 were just the beginning of problems that might be too big for any one man or instrument to solve.

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In the real world a couple of the reasons I became a meteorologist was the heat wave of 1980 and seeing the monstrous Hurricane Allen close in on the Gulf of Mexico. One has to ask the question whether or not it was a coincidence that one of the worst heat waves since the 1930’s and strongest hurricane in the Gulf, to that point, occurred during the same summer.  I noted that Allen did squelch the heat in South Texas in August.

Was global warming already producing both a nearly unprecedented heat wave and hurricane as early as 1980?  Clearly, the atmosphere from Mexico and the Caribbean northward into the U.S. was supper warm that summer.  More recently record heat in the summer (and winter in the southern hemisphere) was present from Australia northward into China in 2013. The western Pacific saw numerous strong Typhoons including the record setting Typhoon Haiyun, which crossed over the central Philippines during the fall later that year…another coincidence?…maybe, but I think not.

The text and artwork are copyright by Guy Walton. I would like to get this book published. Please drop me a note if you are willing to help.

Artwork is by my friend, Alyssa Josue.

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