Dan's Blog: Cue the music, summer is here!

TULSA - (Someone cue the ice cream truck music) Ding Da Ding Da Da Da Ding Da....

It's summertime!  If you close your eyes and concentrate you may be able to imagine hot dogs sizzling on the grill, kids splashing in over chlorinated pools, the sound of jet skis, lawn mowers, Harleys cruising down the road, the crack of the bat at a little league game and your neighbor mowing in his Bermuda shorts, sandals and tall black socks.

Unlike Tulsa traffic, the earth is in constant motion. Our changing orientation to the sun gives us our seasons.  At exactly 6:09 p.m. Wednesday we had the official beginning of summer.  That makes Thursday our first full day of summer. 

We know of the exact timing of summer from meteorologist's scientific cousins -- the astronomers.  They calculate the precise moment the sun is at its highest point the sky.

Between now and Dec. 22 (the winter solstice) the days will get shorter. 

When I speak to school kids I often ask them, "When is the sun closer to earth?  Is it closer in the summer or in the winter?"  Some think we must be closer in the summer because it is hotter, but in fact, the exact opposite is true! 

The distance between the earth and the sun around the start of July is about 94.4 million miles, but by the first week of January it is about 91.3 million miles away. 

There's a trivia question for your next carpool trip. When is the sun closer in winter or summer?  The answer is winter.  Bet them a snow cone, then stop and collect on your next commute home.

The reality is it has nothing to do with the distance but everything to do with our angle or orientation toward the sun.  This change brings us our changing seasons. Things would get pretty boring without seasons and it might even keep me out of a job!

None of us (except maybe air conditioner repairmen) are hoping for a repeat of last summer. 

To remind you, we had 44 days in Tulsa where the temperature reached or exceeded 100 degrees.  The heat and drought lead the local newscasts more than even the recent coverage of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Our hottest here was 113 degrees. 

Last summer went down as the hottest ever since weather records began in 1895. 

So yes, it will be hot this summer, but no signs of it being nearly has hot as the last summer's record breaking heat.

So here's to summer cookouts, trips to the lakes, barefoot kids, drive-in movies, juicy home grown tomatoes, trot lines, reading those summer novels, iced sweet tea, picnics and the Ding Da Ding Da Da of the ice cream man.  Summer is here!

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