1/2/2019 Excerpt from The Hawkeye by David Loomis
A front-page story in The Indiana Gazette recently reported on this year’s local weather (Nov. 25, 2018). Slow news day? Hardly. The story was about a superlative – wettest year on record in Indiana County.
“Through Saturday, more than 65 inches of rain had fallen, which is almost 2 feet above the normal average of 42 inches,” the story reported. That’s a 55 percent increase over the average annual local rainfall. And that’s a record.
If the superlative prompted contemplation about climate change, that would be understandable. A front page article on the previous day included a wire story headlined, “Government climate report warns of worsening U.S. disasters.”
The findings of the new report are discouragingly familiar. In a 2014 edition of the same periodic report, predictions of wildfires in dry regions and torrential downpours in wet regions were chillingly accurate. Like here, in Indiana County.
The new climate report added dire economic predictions that already appear to be accurate in Western Pennsylvania. Rick Ebert, a Westmoreland County dairy farmer since 1982, and president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, recently told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that 2018 is “probably the worst year that I’ve ever seen,” mostly due to the record rains.
It’s clear by now that federal officials at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are beset by a crippling lack of consensus around an existential climate crisis that confronts us right now. Whether we live in tinder-dry California or soaking-wet Pennsyltucky, citizens may have to DIY.