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Weather: How did 'dog days' get its name?

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Weather: How did 'dog days' get its name?
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Could we have passed the dog days of summer? Average temperatures have started their downward trend. Recent temperatures, while warm, have only been slightly above average. Mornings have been at average with several brisk days interspersed.

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Weather prognosticators are calling for a good chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, possibly continuing into the early morning hours. Temperatures should be around normal with highs in the mid 70s and lows in upper 50s.

Ancient Romans referred to the hot sultry days of summer as dog days. They called the star Siruis the "Dog Star." In their time Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, rose around sunrise during summer. This timing led them to believe that Sirius was the cause of hot weather. Today we still use the expression because dogs become languid in hot weather.

Another creature, though legendary, associated with this time of year in Bemidji, is the dragon. Today's weather may have on an impact on the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival as thunderstorms and showers could arrive as final races are held. Afternoon thunderstorms are often accompanied by strong winds, heavy rain and frequent lightning. Morning races should be unaffected as the storms are likely to hold off until after 1 p.m.

While this summer has had its share of storms, the predominant weather feature has been high dew points. The Twin Cities media has been referring to this summer's humid weather as "Humigeddon."

The National Weather Service has verified that the 88 degree dew point recorded in Moorhead on the evening of July 19 is the highest ever recorded in Minnesota. Minneapolis has recorded 101 hours where the dew point was 75 or higher with more likely to come this week. The previous record was 78 hours.

Tom Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation manager. Email him at tsiemers@bemidjipioneer.com

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