It's so hot even the kudzu is headed north.
The vine that ate the South has reached as far as Canada, but experts say it ran away because of global warming, not the summertime scorched earth we're experiencing.
In the Lowcountry, we're used to living like cats on a hot tin roof.
It comes as no surprise that one of the fathers of air conditioning, Dr. John Gorrie, spent his childhood in Charleston and "famously hot" Columbia.
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Or that the contraption the U.S. Marine Corps uses to determine heat-flag conditions was invented on Parris Island. It measures the effect of temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover on the heat stress of outdoor activities.
As kids, we had to gauge all that ourselves.
In the summer heat, we tossed and turned all night, hearing through the wide open windows that even the howling dogs couldn't sleep.
Small fans might stir the hot air, and if we rubbed down with a wet wash cloth it would feel like an igloo for a few minutes.
The heat is why people in the Lowcountry situated their houses to catch the river breeze. It's why workers napped under live oaks at mid-day. And it's why county courthouses filled with sweaty lawyers in seersucker suits would simply close shop in July, sliding justice to a back burner.
Things started to change in about 1950.
The website for Patterson Construction in Beaufort says its founder, the late Joe Allen Patterson, "installed the first heating and air conditioning system used in Beaufort County. This system was installed at the Sea Island Hotel in the early 1950s."
Charles E. Fraser, who founded Sea Pines in 1957, credited air conditioning and mosquito control with proving his would-be lenders wrong. They had told him Hilton Head Island was useful only for growing pine trees.
Fraser later noted that Hilton Head produced only 1 percent of Beaufort County's tax revenue in 1950, but it was up to 10 percent a decade later and 66 percent by 1973.
It was air conditioning that welcomed so many people to the seething Lowcountry that people now joke about making up bumper stickers that read: "Don't smile, they might stay."
But Beaufort artist Nancy Ricker Rhett, who has lived through all this, notes that air conditioning did something besides chill us and thrill us.
"It was almost the end of communities," Rhett said.
She recalls sitting on her grandmother's porch in downtown Beaufort in the evenings. Folks sauntered by, chatted and caught up on the news.
In that open-air world, people knew what their neighbors were having for supper, what they were arguing about, who was winning at horse shoes, and which child had any hope of one day playing the piano for the church.
"With air conditioners and television, everybody moved inside," Rhett said.
Now we dart like deer from our bunkers to our cars.
And as another July melts into August, some in the Lowcountry remember that it's not the heat, it's the humanity.
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.