Discover more from Claggett's take
Guilty, the hotter the better in my world
Justifications from a guy who has a love-hate relationship with the heat
Hell for me is a room with no air circulation, too many people and a requirement that I engage with others. No, it’s not social anxiety. No, I’m far from an introvert. Yes - it’s the damn heat and other people’s evaporation and exhale. And given my Scottish heritage from many generations ago, I too can sweat in front of a 40W lightbulb - probably even a 10W LED.
So, it still surprises friends and family members that I ‘geek out’ with extreme heat related weather, especially when it hits B.C. I know I’m not alone in this. Once the A/C is set up at home, the pets have plenty of water/cooling options and the other two Celtic-blooded decedents in the immediate family are taken care of, it’s time to gleefully watch my backyard weather station and monitor other hotspots around the province.
But we all like the heat! That’s what I’ve heard from others…up until their complaints role in. And yet, I’m the guy who heads up to Lytton for a couple days of camping and rafting every year as soon as it hits the mid to upper 30s.
So, why my obsession? Well, I’ve given this a few minutes of thought and even I have to say it’s a bit odd. Here are the best answers I can come up with.
Memories of summers, vacations and good times
Many of my best childhood memories are associated with camping in Penticton or along the shores of Vernon’s Kalamalka Lake. Back when it was hot - I like to say to my climate-triggered friends.
In my late teens those memories shifted toward the fun and excitement associated with partying in the Okanagan. From sailing and tubing to campfires and copious amounts of libations (once legal of course), the hot weather was always been the reward that followed a far-too-long rainy, winter season on the coast.
Swimming. Sailing. Beaches. Sand. Shorts. Legs. Camping. Canvass. Campfires. Smoke. Pine. Ice. Refreshments. Talk. Friends. Music.
From thunderstorms to surprisingly high temperatures, I’ve always been fascinated with the natural power behind extreme weather. Part of that is connected to being an amateur radio operator and following such events around the world in real time. HAMS form networks and clubs to help others when things turn dire. Another part is the science behind weather. Much like ham radio propagation/band conditions, only so much can be predicted. A great deal of weather defies modelling and surprises us with the might x factor.
I’ve lived most of my life in the Lower Mainland, and area which experiences very little extreme weather. Perhaps that’s why I’m fascinated when temperatures exceed 40C and records fall. Rare heat-related thunderstorms absolutely fascinate me.
News and communities
Forest fires and flooding are the only two natural disasters I’ve had direct experience with in my career as a working newsman. Perhaps other journalists will understand this - there is an inherent drive to report developments that impact people and communities. Breaking news as always been “my thing” and the hot weather brings out plenty of stories. I’ve reported from the front lines of many fires in the Okanagan, Thomson-Nicola, Cariboo and even parts of Southern California. I’ve also anchored breaking radio coverage of major floods in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
It’s my long-standing belief that our province will be best served when there is a communications system in place for evacuations. The more information - the better. That starts with radio reporting for those who need to listen while fleeing a dangerous area. But, I’m off track here.
On the bright side, the response from fire crews, in co-ordination with other first responders, has always impressed me. It brings out the very best in people during crisis situations. From times when community halls in Chilliwack and Cloverdale opened their doors to people leaving Kamloops and Merritt, to those who crossed into the danger zones to rescue farm animals, it’s where humanity unites many.
Helicopter at Skaha Lake in Penticton picks up water for drops on nearby fire. Video: Bruce Claggett
As for this summer, bring on the heat. I’ll stay cool and I hope we continue to reach out to those who are vulnerable to provide any assistance needed. For those like me - let’s continue to hope for long summer days with highs in the mid-30s. The cold and the rain will be back soon enough.
Bruce Claggett is a 35 year veteran in the news media, having worked as a reporter, newscaster, producer/editor, senior editor, news director, journalism instructor and media consultant. He holds a BA (political science/geography) from UBC, B.Ed. (secondary education) from UBC and a Dipl. T. (broadcast journalism) from BCIT. He continues to work as a guest host on 980/CKNW, media trainer and communications advisor.
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