July has started off on the hot side and it looks too continue with above average temperatures forecast for the next two weeks and probably the entire month.

The temperature soared above 90 degrees on the second day of July and continued above 90 for the next week with 94 being reached on the July 6 and July 7. Nearby Connellsville reached a high of 99 degrees, respectfully, Charleroi hit 96 degrees and Morgantown came in just over 100 degrees. I am sure that many of your car thermometers showed temperatures near the 100 mark.

A large blocking fair weather high pressure system is responsible for the heat wave. And while this weekend should show some cooler temperatures the long term looks like more 90s.

Last Monday with the temperatures in the mid-90s, it was interesting to note that humidity levels were low, only at 30% that afternoon. The combination of high temperature and low humidity quickly dried out gardens, flowers and shrubs. Not a drop of rain fell for the first week of July and folks were getting worried with the drying fields.

Finally on Tuesday, the moisture in the air increased and by late afternoon, a few scattered thunderstorms developed and brought much needed rains to some areas. Not everyone got the rain, but where it did fall because of the slow movement of the storms some impressive rain totals were reported, including over two inches in the Uniontown area and about ¾ of an inch at Chalk Hill. With the added moisture and an East Coast tropical storm, the area could see some additional rains over the weekend.

The hot weather has sent folks scurrying to shade and cooler areas. Elevation plays a key role in finding cooler temperatures and for each 1,000 foot increase in elevation the temperature goes down by 5 degrees. Our mountains just to the east offer temperatures some 5 to 10 degrees cooler than our lower elevations and for this reason, we see so many visitors seeking a respite from the heat. Our high temperature at Chalk Hill so far is 88 degrees.

Our bike trail is shaded for the most part and offers a nice outdoor venue for some exercise. Please be aware that the 11 miles of the trail between Ohiopyle and Confluence is scheduled to be resurfaced from July 13 -24 and you are advised to use a different section of the trail.

Above Confluence to Rockwood is a nice section as is the trail from Connellsville to Ohiopyle which will not be affected by the resurfacing. The trail from Connellsville toward Cedar Creek is also great, but is a little warmer and has more sunny areas.

During these heat waves, I enjoy early morning for my outdoor activities. It is so much cooler and much less crowded. On Tuesday morning, I biked the Ohiopyle to Confluence section and found only a few others out at an early hour. Weekdays are also a lot less crowded than weekends.

I also like to get the kayak out early and enjoy the solitude and wonder of morning. The water this Wednesday was perfectly calm and my kayak has a cup holder for my morning brew. Enjoying Mother Nature and watching a new day begin with all its possibilities is a real joy. A turtle peeked his head out from under a pad of lilies and offered a good morning and then swam off to be followed by a visit from the blue heron and the sounds of “woody” rapping on a tree for some morning treats. Wow, what a day and it was only 8 a.m.

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