Hot Times in the Old Town
Speaking of forest fires:
But in 1910, a few years after the Forest Service was formed and not on the above graph, "a devastating series of forest fires swept over Idaho, Montana, and Washington, culminating on August 20–21 in what is known as the "Big Blowup." Coming only five years after the U.S. Forest Service’s establishment, this seminal event made a deep and lasting impact on the agency. ... [T]he young agency was undermanned, underfunded, and underprepared for what was to come. ... On August 20 hurricane-force winds swept through the region and fanned embers and low flames back to life all across the Northern Rockies. There was no stopping or containing the fire; one could only hope to avoid it. Trains raced to evacuate towns just ahead of the flames."
Thus began the Forest Service's Smokey the Bear campaign to prevent forest fires. Unlike most federal programs, it seems to have been successful and involved among other things a program of "controlled burns" in Forest Service lands to clear out inflammable underbrush. About 30 years ago, TOF read an article about the end of the controlled burn program because it was non-environmental: Nature should be allowed to take its course, even if that meant occasional wildfires. Hey, it's Nature!
Lo and Behold! As the underbrush and deadwood once more accumulated, the number of burned acres began to increase slightly, starting roughly ten years ago.
Flood and MudFires were not the only thing going on.
NEW YORK. Thursday.
A quarter of the area of the United States wasunder flood waters today. It is a disaster rankingwith the worst calamities from natural causes thathave occurred in the history of the nation. Propertydamage is so great that it is almost incalculable. Lossof life may exceed 1000 for already 160 fatalities areknown and 40 people are missing.As Eastern American States became almostcovered with water, terrible dust-storms raged acrossthe central and western States, tearing the crops outby the roots and laying waste thousands of squarestorms, it rained mud.miles of country. Where the dust struck snow
Just in case you've been getting a-skeered by weather coverage lately.An extraordinarily dramatictouch was given to the Presi-dent's appeal to the nation forRed Cross fund for, even as hesigned the proclamation, thous-ands of Works Progress Admin-istration workers were strug-gling desperately to erect bul-warks against the waters of thePotomac River which rapidlyare approaching within a fewsquares of White House itself.
Hurricane Season Off to a WhimperFascinatingly, the weatherfolk watching the tropical Atlantic have been reduced to reporting on a "scary," nameless "disturbance" (Invest 99-L) that might grow up to be a tropical depression that could deepen into a tropical storm that might be intensify into a hurricane that could reach Cat. One. This is because there has been, contrary to theory, a decided dearth of actual hurricanes to speak of for the past 11 years; although since we started naming tropical storms it does not actually seem so when one reviews the named storms. There is now a move to name tropical depressions in order to keep the count up. For now, the headlines will have to read:
may or may not be coming to an end.
Hot Enough Yet?Speaking of heat waves, in 1936 a heat wave caused 12,183 deaths in the US, the NY Times reported (July 7, 1936)
The Chicago Tribune reported a week later (July 14, 1936) that hundreds had died in Detroit from the heat wave and that Chicago itself was also baking.Meanwhile, over in Ohio, the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune in Ohio (July 25, 1936) tells us:
CROP CRISIS WORSE,with a sub-head that
HEAT RISING TO 119°
31 CITIES ARE OVER 100°Ach, du Lieber! TOF hears you ask, How many days went over 105°F?
Hard to say, but here is the graph of the percentage of US HCN temperature stations that hit that level sometime during the year:
The 1930s also featured worries about global warming
Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says
“A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, engendering a "serious international problem," Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist, said today.
A ship was reported to have made the Northwest Passage across open waters, but TOF has not located the report.
So, the world rallied and did nothing and before you could say Jack Robinson, the Times was reporting:
“After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder.”
"[M]en are always powerfully affected by the immediate past:
one might say that they are blinded by it." -- Hilaire Belloc