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Despite this we stay- November, 20 2008

It’s Really Dry Here

by Carol Dunn

HUERFANO- Those of you who recently moved to the area may have noticed a pesky skin condition that some call “lizard skin.”  Or to be politically correct, we should say “moisture challenged creepy reptile skin.”  This flaky skin condition is the result of very low humidity on the plains and along the foothills.  On WeBeWeather.com, you may see ranges of humidity in the teens to 50% or more for this area.  In winter, your nasal passages will tell you that the humidity is more like MINUS fifty percent.  When you walk outside, the moisture is literally sucked out of your body. 

    Where does the moisture go?  Have you ever heard of the Great Lakes?  Yes, that portion of the country used to be a desert until all the moisture from Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado blew away on the jet stream.  You laugh, but haven’t we all heard that the plains were once a “great inland sea?”  Well, where did it go?  I rest my case.

    The thing about the lack of humidity is, it makes everything so DRY.  We’re talking lips, eyes, sinuses, ear wax.  Anyone else have finger tips that crack open like quail eggs during winter?  Now, that is torture!  How about shocking your hands on doorknobs?  I’ve had sparks leap out and grab me from two feet away – ok, maybe it was two inches, and ZAP, right into the cracked fingertip.  This has only slightly more appeal to me than sliding off a metal roof into a loaded manure spreader.  A doctor in Denver once told me that, to avoid sinus infections, I should “irrigate my nasal passages.”  Does this arouse your curiosity as much as it did mine?  He went on to describe inhaling water up my nose, but not far enough to set my brain on fire.  Give it a try.  It only takes a couple hundred tries to get it right.

    I suppose there are good things about low humidity.  For instance, you can leave tortilla chips sitting out for days and they remain crisp.  (Don’t try this regularly, because adobe bugs will eventually show up and poo on them.)  Also, if you are making French toast and need stale bread, just leave a few slices out on the countertop for thirty seconds – voila, stale bread.  Shower stalls are less likely to mildew.  There are fewer fleas and dust mites and less mold.  Windows don’t fog up.  And that glass of ice water usually won’t leave a water ring on your furniture, because there’s nothing in the air to condense on the glass.

    And last but not least, when it gets hot here, it’s a “dry heat.”