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"Hot town, summer in the city . . ."
(Lovin' Spoonful, 1965)

LASN Editor Steve Kelly


The only little ones playing in this downtown Phoenix park in the triple-digit heat were of the statue variety.

The recent heat wave in the Western U.S. recorded 118°F in Phoenix on Sunday June 19. The last time I was in Phoenix it was "only" 103°F (photo above). I found it stifling during the day. At night the digital downtown temperature display outside the hotel still read 103°F, but it was much more pleasant, given that the sun wasn't beating down on you.

Why is this in the hardscape news? The answer is radiant heat. Asphalt and concrete are the most widely used pavements. How hot do these hardscapes get? One temperature test of dense graded asphalt and concrete in Phoenix revealed that when temperatures reach 100°F at high noon, the surface temperature of asphalt pavement was 158°F, and about 140°F degrees for the concrete. Asphalt pavement temperatures have been recorded as high as 172°F.

Stepping on 158°F pavement for one second in bare feet can burn human skin; you can cook eggs on that surface in five minutes.

People of course generally wear shoes to protect their feet, although you may have experienced burning your feet as you hopped along a stretch of beach sand leading down to the water. Think about those pavement temperatures this summer when you're out walking your canine buddies. Their footpads are quite sensitive to heat. On a hot day, test the pavement in your bare feet; if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for dog paw pads.

Also remember that dogs can easily overheat. You have sweat glands, but dogs only have small sweat glands on their paw pads, which are not significant for heat release.

Panting is their only means of heat relief. Think "cool water and shade" for your dogs when you walk them this summer.

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October 23, 2019, 9:59 pm PDT

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