July 13-18, 2023
Of course, we knew it couldn't last. Last year we had an extremely generous monsoon, clocking more than 24" of precipitation for the year (16" is the average). But this year's monsoon is dangerously late. We've received a mere .57" of rain since June 1, and temperatures are averaging 10 degrees above normal. In a normal year, Silver City sees temperatures above 90 degress for seven days on average. This year, we're at 25 and counting. Few of us have whole-house air conditioning (we didn't need it). And the wealth of outdoor activities that sweetens life here is now out of reach. By 10:00 am, it's too hot to hike or even sit outside at our favorite coffee shop. We were happy we had a trip on the calendar, to visit our friends Tom and Ann near Albuquerque and attend Ann's performance with the New Mexico Peace Choir.
As a hedge against the unusual heat, we packed extra water and made sure we had a full tank of propane so we could run the air conditioning. But, we were heading north, and the monsoon was on its way. How bad could it be?
The New Mexico Peace Choir and post-performance party were absolutely delightful! But meanwhile, the monsoon failed to put in an appearance, and the temperature continued to climb. 100. 103. 105. Impossible for this elevation at this time of year! The day of the concert, we left the cats in the RV, plugged into a 30-amp circuit, with the AC running full blast. But when we returned, we discovered that the AC had blinked out, and it was 101°. The cats were okay, but lethargic and breathing hard. We wrapped them in wet towels and got the AC running. In a few minutes, they were back to normal. But now we know we can't count on the fragile systems that protect us in this insane heat. We also need to rethink the makeshift cooling system at home to account for the certainty that the "extraordinary" heat waves we're experiencing now are only going to get worse.