First 100-degree day

According to the local news channel, lefaso.net, the daytime high today was 38 degrees, or 100 for my American (or Liberian, or Burmese) friends. Here’s a picture of heat haze, looking down the big paved street towards my house at about 1:00 this afternoon.

Heat haze

Since Karim, the guy who Brenda Soya recommended to fix my bike, hasn’t gotten it back to me yet, I had to walk. Fine going there at 8:00 a.m. Nice breeze, about 80 or so, worked up a bit of a sweat over the two-mile or so walk. Coming back, I was going as slowly as all the other folks. Foot traffic was significantly lighter than in the morning, and most people were sitting quietly in the shade of their shops or under trees. There’s a reason why everything pretty much shuts down between noon and 3 p.m.

We’re in the short dry season now, kind of a foretaste of what will happen in March and April, when average daytime highs run about 40 (105 or so). There is still a little bit of rain in November, as you can see here in the “Average Conditions” section at the bottom. We had a rain storm last week, pouring down for about half an hour, preceded by a big huge wind that kicked up dust and left a coating on everything in the house.

If you look at the regional weather map on that BBC Weather page, you can see that there is a bunch of it going on down on the coast. This is the short rainy season down in Accra and Lomé. What’s going on is that the “inter-tropical convergence zone” is moving south, following the sun. The zone is a band of rainy weather that moves north and south across the tropics each year. At the extremes of its annual movement, here in the Sahel (and at the other end of the run south of the equator, in Angola and Zambia) it produces one rainy season, followed by a long season of high temperatures and low humidity. In the middle of its course, down nearer the equator, it gives four seasons, a short rainy season in the fall, followed by the aforementioned hot season, followed by a long rainy season, followed by a short hot (and usually much more humid) season in the summer months when more northerly places are getting their rain. Since it follows the sun, rather than being directly in step with it, the seasons are four weeks or so behind, so the rainy season here starts in July or so and ends in October. As an added benefit, the deepest part of the dry season, for the Sahel, is what we call the harmattan. This is a season of dusty winds off the desert, lower nighttime temperatures (getting down to an average of 15, or 60 fahrenheit). That’s coming soon, couldn’t be soon enough for me.

While I was writing this, the bike guy showed up. He isn’t quite done, though the bike is sitting now in my living room. He was going to put a rear-view mirror on for me but the person who was going to weld it for him messed up and he has to take it back. Other than that, looks fine. He didn’t like my seat, though, and replaced it with another one of the plastic kind. But he fixed the front forks, put on a new handlebar, regulated and greased and adjusted everything, so it shifts fine now. I’ll get a picture of him with it tomorrow when it has its rear-view mirror.

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3 thoughts on “First 100-degree day

  1. Hey Stewart,
    Good to read your continuing adventures in Burkina. We are officially back home in Cali. Missing West Africa already.

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      1. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet since the students are still on strike. But it does fit into the display port on the computer so it should work. Thanks for that and it was a real pleasure to spend time with you and your husband. All the best in your continuing adventures.

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