We’re floating in swimming pools, searching for spaces to park our car beneath shade trees when we have to go shopping. Mostly we’re hibernating inside our air-conditioned homes to escape the heat and stay cool. Our dogs lie at our feet panting even though they’re not running around.
But summer heat doesn’t really have anything to do with dogs.
The term dog days of summer comes from astronomy and is a reference to the Dog Star Sirius, which rises and sets with the Sun in the summertime.
Ancient Egyptians believed that the brightness of Dog Star Sirius added heat to the sun and produced a long stretch of sultry weather during the forty days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.
The accuracy of those ancient “dog day” dates doesn’t hold true today according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews. Dog day dates vary based on in the rotation of the Earth and whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere.
Anyone who’s lived in Texas knows that dog days in Texas can (and do) begin well before July 3 and extend long after August 11. Afternoon temperatures can soar to the nineties with heat indexes pushing well into the triple digits and heat wave warnings are sounded well into September.
We get to enjoy lazy days sitting under the porch fan sipping lemonade and reading. Flip flops and sandals. Ice cream cones and frozen slushies. Watermelon and fresh veggies. It’s a laid back time.
Soon, these dog days will become a memory until they return next year. Fall will bring cooler weather and colorful leaves, pumpkins, and holiday bazaars.