UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: February 8, 301 AP.

Utanian summer, hot and humid

Utania is now solidly into its most unpleasant season of the year: summer, the hottest but also the most humid time of the year. Energy consumption rises, the threat of hurricanes becomes ever-present, and the air becomes thick and moist - it is any wonder Utanians stay around. But, they do.

"It has been part of Utanian psyche for hundred and thousands of years", says Noblay Westini, a man whose ancestors immigrated from Lendia over a hundred years ago. "It is just something we live with", he says, but then adds with a wink "but it is pretty unbearable."

Temperatures generally progress little during the summer, an average of maybe five degrees in Luka to about 32C, but the clouds descend and the storms begin. It is one long series of storms, one after another, says meteorologist Dr Diane Kembler of the University of Luka. "The pattern is that half the days are overcast, warm and humid, and frequently large volumes of rain drop from the sky. What makes Utania different to another nation at this latitude, say, Bowdani, is the volume of water.

"At this tropical latitude the winds blow from the equator south-westward, and there is nothing to Utania's north-east except Guwimith and 10,000km of ocean. Bowdani has land within 800km, meaning the build-up of moist air isn't so great, and the storms and humidity are far less significant."

Energy

Such humid air, rain and heat make for an unbearable summer, say the new immigrants, and they are responding making a boom in air conditioning units. "One of Utania's fastest growing industries", says economist David Lendine, "is air conditioning, and several new companies have formed in Utania developing our own air conditioning units."

Energy consumption levels have also risen substantially over the past ten years as a consequence. All major office towers in Luka and Vela Luka have air conditioning installed as a matter of course, and electricity companies are feeling the pinch.

George Kastandis, manager of capacity management at Luka Energy, a subsiduary of the Lasanne Electricity Department, says that his department had upgraded the main lines into the city twice over the past ten years, and was expecting to do so again next year. "We must have the lines capable of handling summer loads which skyrocket to 150% normal winter load, all because of the heat and humidity."

The additional cost of constantly upgrading the network is passed on to consumers in Luka, with an energy surcharge that is calculated based on the maximum power consumption to the user. "People aren't real happy about it, but we have to cover the costs of "shipping" the electricity."

A threat from the clouds

Another threat to citizenry of Luka, in fact to the entire east coast of Utania, is the low pressure storms. Aside from monsoonal rain that the city's drains must cope with, there is the threat that one of those storms may evolve and turn into a hurricane. "It is a constant threat, but one we are better prepared for", says Lasanne state's Governor Hope. "All building codes strictly dictate that buildings must be capable of withstanding force 5 hurricanes with minimal glass breakage."

"The last thing we need is a city showered with forty storeys of broken glass after a storm." he adds.

The President also amalgamated several independent units into a central Hurricane-watch centre, the HuMOC, which has been watching the skies since earlier last month. "The hurricanes have taken thousands of lives in the past", says HuMOC Director John Kolinsky, "It is preventative measures that can save lives, and early warning systems, such as in HuMOC, will provide people the time to prepare."

"It is an essential service when you live in the path of hurricanes." he adds, wiping the sweat from his brow under the cloudy Utanian sky. It's 84% humidity and 34 degrees. Welcome to Utania's summer!


©UPA, 301 AP.

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©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)
PS; Anyone else working on the topic of vex-meteorology or climatology please contact me for I am about to embark on an eight-week project and would rather not tread on toes, or visa-versa.  *grin*