A 'hot-hot' time in Metro Detroit as high temps break pandemic bubble

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News
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You want to know if it was truly hot outside Sunday, ask a caddie. Or maybe a banjo player.

Moyo Ojubanire, 19, toiled four-plus hours under the sun at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield. The way things worked out, he spent some of that time driving a cart rather than lugging a bag, but still: was it hot hot, sort of hot or not so hot?

"It was hot hot," said Ojubanire, a University of Michigan junior from Farmington Hills. A breeze helped partway through the round, but still: "Definitely hot hot."

Across 18 holes Sunday at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield on Sunday, caddie Moyo Ojubanire determined that it was more than just hot outside.

According to the National Weather Service outpost in White Lake Township, the 87-degree Sunday and 88-degree Saturday were actually the hot-hottest back-to-back days of 2021 as measured at Detroit Metro Airport. More 80-plus-degree days are expected through Wednesday, said meteorologist Steve Considine, though with possible scattered showers or thunderstorms during the afternoon.

The golfers at Plum Hollow likely will be undeterred by a few raindrops, or even a barrage of them. They've been on the course since March. But a few miles away in downtown Farmington, vendors and their potential customers at Art on the Grand were saying the weekend felt like a COVID-19 jailbreak — a first chance to stroll Grand River Avenue largely unmasked, unhurried and unworried.

That's where Caleb Ho of Farmington Hills was playing banjo and violin while singing folk songs for what he called "a decent amount" of tips.

Ho, 23, recently returned from a trip to Virginia, and he said it was definitely hotter here. While he was not willing to concede regret for wearing black jeans rather than shorts — "I didn't have to put sunblock on my legs," he noted — he was glad for short sleeves.

Caleb Ho of Farmington Hills said he was thankful for his short-sleeved shirt as he played and sang for tips at a Farmington art fair on an 87-degree Sunday.

Considine said the relatively low dewpoint in the 50s helped keep the atmosphere dry and the heat index at about the same level as the temperature on what were officially Ozone Action Days.

“That’s why it maybe didn’t feel so oppressive,” he said. The forecast through Wednesday calls for highs of 82, but those moister days might feel warmer than the number unless afternoon rain cools them off.

For those keeping score, the combined weekend temperatures of 88 followed by 87 were just a few sunbeams higher than the 88 and 86 of May 21-22.

For art fair vendor Larry Orr of Taylor, the key number was 75, the approximate number of bird houses, feeders, and bat and owl houses his A Birds Eye View sold during a staggeringly successful weekend. By Sunday afternoon, he had only four houses left.

"I had a number of people comment that they were just glad to be outside," said Orr, 72. "I've been to other shows with temperatures like this that chased people away. We had one in Berkley probably four or five years ago that did zip."

Larry Orr said Sunday that he had a successful weekend selling bird houses and feeders at Art on the Grand in Farmington. He said multiple show-goers told him they were glad to be out in public.

As for his take on the weather, "Thank God for the breeze," he said.

He had checked his phone earlier after leaving it exposed on a table and found an alert that it had become too hot to operate. Befitting someone who sells abodes for owls, he wisely stashed it in his cooler.

Jay Anand of Livonia hadn't purchased a birdhouse or anything else besides a lemonade, but just being out among other people felt like a million dollars.

"My girlfriend and I discussed it for a few days," he said, before deciding to burst their social bubble for something fun and frivolous for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

"We were almost the only ones wearing masks" at the fair, he said. They took them off as they left the lemonade stand, and decided as they sipped that in open air on a hot day, they were comfortable without them.

At the Mrs. Hat booth, Meredith Ulsh and Liv Kunkle of Rockwood were trying to combat the heat with a fan and a chair-mounted umbrella. The fan was outgunned and the umbrella kept toppling over.

Ulsh, 44, is the hatmaker in the operation. Kunkle, 19, is her daughter, "so I guess I'm Miss Hat."

Their hats range from $50 to $450, with most in the vicinity of $130. They generally have leather tops and brims with mesh crowns that help keep craniums cool.

Art On the Grand was their first show of the season, and "we were a little worried coming in," Kunkle said. "We didn't know how people would feel about being out."

What she and her mom found, she said, was that "it's been a good show. They were happy for the interaction."

They're looking forward to their next show, Art in the Park in Plymouth from July 9-11.

Luv Kunkle, left, and Meredith Ulsh, of Rockwood, fought the heat with a fan and umbrella at the Mrs. Hat display at Art on the Grand, in Farmington, June 6, 2021.

Back at Plum Hollow, meanwhile, Ojubanire was looking no further than home, with its cool drinks and air conditioning.

"I'll probably just chill," he said, and then upon reflection, he removed any doubt.

He would chill, absolutely. But he'll be back on the course next weekend: predicted highs around 81 or 82, and probably only one "hot" required.


Twitter: @nealrubin_dn

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