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Wow! If you've heard about rain coming down in sheets and haven't actually seen it happen, you had a good chance to see such a display of rain coming down in fitted sheets in much of Westside Eagle Observer country last Wednesday. That downpour in less than an hour blanketed the area with 2 34/100 inches at the NOAA station in Gravette and the winds, which some prognosticators indicated had gusts of more than 50 mph -- enough to take down a partially finished wall of the new gymnasium at Gravette. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Speaking of rain, there were pools and ditches full of runoff and, no doubt, your rain gauges had at least that much or more. It can vary from one side of the street to another, particularly from summertime showers -- make that sheets, sometimes. Anyway, enough of that.

There really wasn't any warning on area tubes that I watched. I was skipping around. The Weather Channel had a blurb or two about a weather advisory for the area. Speaking of the area weather experts, there is one two-word phrase which you'll hear more often than many other words during a regular broadcast ... Guess what it is? Maybe an answer close to the end of this 'cuff ... if I don't forget it.

This 'cuff is going to be one of those conglomeration excuses and first will be a brief explanation of why, according to this person, summer didn't begin on the calendar date June 20 ... but rather was six days later on June 26. This is my own special recognition of what to base the opening of summer each year; sometimes it's earlier and occasionally later than the date authorized by experts. My copywritten explanation is based on those childhood summers of yore. Let's just leave it at that -- a long time ago.

The beginning of real summer then occurred when an accumulation of cumulus clouds into dark banks of puffed moisture formed on the skyline in the northwest quadrant of the sky. That bunching of clouds would begin about suppertime each evening -- make that dinner if you so desire. As the evening wore on ... and it usually was a hot sultry evening every evening ... it would deepen and darken as it moved closer and closer to these young eyes which were focused on the flashes of lightning and occasional rumbles of thunder. And then -- yep, you guessed it -- just as dusk began to settle in, invariably the cloud would change its mind and, almost at the blink of an eye, it would disappear. There went those promised cooling breezes to ease the perspiration and sprinkles of raindrops ... just a few would be helpful since it probably hasn't rained for a couple of weeks. And you know what two weeks of hot, dry weather can do in Eagle Observer country, not only to lawns, gardens and lightning bugs, temperatures and expectations, especially to small fry who usually didn't pay any attention to the weather.

But always, and I mean always, such a display was always the evening drama of what summer was and really is all about. Such hadn't occurred this year until the morning of June 26 when this early riser saw such a display just before dawn and its disappearance just as dawn arrived. Nature got herself all mixed up and displayed her abilities in the morning rather than the evening. Hence, summer began this year six days later than had been authorized by the calendar expert.

Whew. That wore me out. This climate change thing has gotten to be a nuisance. Almost as much as big earthquakes in southern California. And to add to the story ... the Arkansas National Guard is planning training sessions on how to deal with earthquakes should one occur in the New Madrid fault area in northeast Arkansas which hasn't been visited by a big rumble for more than a hundred years. Let's hope such training is never used. Eagle Observer country would probably feel quite a shock if we had a recurrence of those early 1800 quakes which even changed the course of the Mississippi River. And that river is having enough trouble this year with all that melted snow and heavy rain throughout the central USA. Hey, lay off, Mother Nature, just don't forget our part of the world welcomes a good gentle rain at least every two weeks all summer long ... just like we had all spring long.

On to another ... all the towns in the area had their own Fourth of July fireworks displays and all were well attended. The Gentry Freedom Festival was one of, if not the best, according to the crowds who also enjoyed the other aspects of the celebration. A drive around the area showed what appeared to be an increase in the number of flags that waved a "Good old USA" to passersby. This, yes, this is an action every American should participate in -- if for no other reason than to prove we are a patriotic and thankful people who will not be outdone by a bunch of ______s. You fill in the blank as you see fit. But we must never forget such freedom of expression, though not welcomed or admired, is certainly one of those "rights" we all can enjoy. A perfect answer might be just to shake your head in wondering what ... 'nuff said for this 'cuff.

Whoops, almost forgot ... that most often heard two-word saying expressed by every weather expert on the tube is simply -- Did you guess "left now"? That's close, just count the number of times your favorite weather person (politically correct) uses the two words to explain current temps, events, clouds, lightning flashes and thunder rolls with these famous two words -- "Right now." Guess right adds emphasis to the now and right now's the time to say 'till next time.

P.S. Wanna hear about a visit from outer space to a local back yard?

Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 07/17/2019

Print Headline: Why summer really began late this year

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