Baby, It's Muggy Outside: An Ode to the Gulf Coast and Its Weather in the Dead of Winter
Yes, even the humidity feels like a friend to me. When I was in Wyoming in 2012 for a wedding, I hiked along a beautiful crater lake. The guide explained to me that the humidity at that altitude -- around 8,000 feet -- was 7 percent. I asked him to repeat that for me because I was unaware such a thing existed. When I got back to the hotel, I took a hot shower and let the steam build up in the room, hoping to approximate my hometown climate, where the humidity is routinely 10 times that of Wyoming.
In these climates, you have to be prepared. Don't drink a LOT of water and you'll get dehydrated quickly, even if you are acclimated. The only thing that might kill you along the Gulf Coast is not drinking enough margaritas, the only frozen thing I really want near me on a regular basis.
I was once told that in northern and some midwestern states, it wasn't just advisable to carry an emergency winter kit in your car, it was life saving. From blankets to flares to extra gasoline, it could keep you alive if your car broke down out on a wintry farm road during a blizzard. Just recently, I was looking through photos taken by my wife's uncle on a trip he and his wife took across Africa in the 1970s, their Range Rover loaded down with metal cans of gasoline. For them, the threat was death by lion, but somehow, I find that preferable to the cold.
Maybe my blood is too thin, done in by my life in the balmy humidity of the Gulf Coast. Maybe, unlike when I was a child and fantasized about playing in the snow, I just don't have the energy I once had for cold, wintry weather. Maybe it's the swimming pool that sits idle in my back yard while I wait for it to warm up. But, I'm already tired of whatever it is that passes for winter in Houston, nevermind the mid 20-degree weather we saw this week.
I'm ready to roll down the windows, drive towards the coast and breathe in that thick, salty air. I'm ready for days when the temperature and relative humidity numbers are remarkably similar. I'm sure by late August, I'll be dreaming of temperatures in the '60s, but for now, give me and 85. I'm ready...and it's only January.