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In summer, the desert Southwest deals out severe conditions for concrete work. Temperatures over 100°F, relative humidity in the negative numbers, and persistent hot, dry winds can teach hard lessons. I've spent many years on both ends of the concrete chute, as a crew leader for our family place-and-finish business and as a technologist and quality-control manager for two Albuquerque ready-mix suppliers. I've seen some heated disputes over badly cracked or poorly finished slabs — failures that could have been prevented with adequate planning and proper handling, or simply by providing enough manpower. For the most part, though, I've seen concrete work performed successfully under harsh desert conditions. And if we can