Saturday, July 23, 2016

Still Life with Robin: Welcome to the Heat Dome

Photo by Bill Adler
by Peggy Robin

You can’t have escaped hearing by now that we’re under a “heat dome.” We, meaning Washington, DC along with 26 other states. Temperatures are expected to go into triple digits, and even if not, the heat index –what it feels like outside-- will certainly do so.

For those of you sitting in your nicely air-conditioned room, reading this on your phone, tablet, or computer in comfort, and wondering idly, “What’s a ‘heat dome" and “Didn't Stephen King make up that term and use it in a horror novel about a supernaturally-caused oven-effect that kills almost everyone but spares just an odd band of misfits?” – here are the answers:

What’s a Heat Dome?

And where did the phrase actually come from? The New York Times explored this question almost five years ago to the day during a heat dome in the Southwest (July 22, 2011): but notes that “heat bubble” is a more fitting term. That may be so, but it’s nowhere near as menacing-sounding. Would people take care to protect themselves from the possibly lethal effects of a bubble? Or would they think of it as something that could pop at any moment? Best to stick with the scary dome, I say.

And speaking of that, here are some basic tips from for keeping yourself from becoming overcooked during our time under the dome:

One of the tips in the article above is to stay well hydrated – which, in typical internet fashion, was accompanied by a link to a related article about staying hydrated with cold liquids, and from there you get to the recipes for 12 different varieties of homemade ice pops:,,20937930,00.html. They all look fun to make and cool to eat (in all senses of the word).

Happy Heat Dome, everyone!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.


  1. My thermometer reads 89 - not so bad.

  2. Enjoy it while it's still relatively cool. Accuweather is saying we'll top off at 99 today by 4pm, and with the heat index it will feel like 107!