Five Obscure ‘Facts’ You Never Knew About East Texas Summer Heat
Even though Summer doesn't officially start until this Sunday (June 20), I believe it's safe to say it is here. The past several afternoons have given us 'feels-like' temperatures above 110 degrees. As the residents of Whoville sang, "Welcome, welcome, Summer, Summer..." well, maybe those weren't the exact lyrics, but you get the point - get used to the heat until we're deep into football season.
The Summer heat in East Texas is extremely unique when compared to other parts of the United States and beyond. How so? Here are 5 things you may have not known about the extreme heat in the Pineywoods.
We're all familiar with this guy...the Red Paper Wasp. Did you know that just a few short decades ago this guy was actually white in color? Yes, it used to be called the albino wasp, however, years of spending time in the hot East Texas Summers caused these wasps to have a permanent sunburn. That's why it's red and has such a bad disposition.
The hotter it gets, the louder this guy gets. The endless chorus of rhythmic buzzing is a familiar sound in East Texas Summer. Did you know the buzzing is actually the cicada laughing? Yup...while he's up in the tree in the nice shade, he's laughing at us humans who are stuck in the sunlight doing yardwork. Sometimes they laugh so hard that they unleash a mighty sneeze which causes them to expel their skin.
Do you know the four stages of an East Texas Summer? Currently, we are in the 'reverse sear' stage. It's called this because there is no gradual transition from the Spring into the Summer. One minute you're complaining about all the rain and lack of sunlight, the next minute you're wondering why you have grill marks on your back. The other stages of Summer are burnt ends, lava and spontaneous combustion.
Some might have you believe that those heat waves appearing off the ground are the result of thermal radiation. Nope. In fact, those are SOUND WAVES produced by the wailing and sobbing of plants, grass and bugs that are caught in the direct sunlight. Legend has it that if you put your ear to a rock that's been in the hot sun you can hear the crying of crickets. Legend also has it that you will burn your ear.
The hottest all-time temperature in Texas happened in East Texas. Okay, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Monahans,Texas got up to 120 in 1994 for the official highest Texas temp ever. However, the unofficial highest temperature ever in the Lone Star State happened at a pond near Kennard in the Summer of 2015. No one had a temperature gauge around, but it was so hot that it caused this bird to use these two flower stems to stay out of the water for fear of being boiled alive. The boiling point of water is 212 degrees, so it had to be close to that.
So...there you go. Five 'facts' about East Texas Summer heat that you probably did not know. What? Don't believe the validity of my statements? Think they sound too far-fetched? What about two major snow storms, an ice storm and temperatures below zero this past Winter? This is East Texas, where anything can happen.
And now, to cool you down, a look back at some of the East Texas snowfall of a few months ago.