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Wow! There she goes again. Those five words really don't mean anything. I'm just writing about that lady we often refer to when a certain subject is brought up. You know ... the weather. It's always Mother Nature who gets the blame for unexpected events concerning the thermometer or wind speed or those showers which can vary from a sprinkle to a three-quarter inch downpour just two blocks away.

I'm writing this early Friday the Fourth -- not of July, but October -- after I stuck my nose out the door this Friday, and it turned blue -- neither the door nor Friday -- in that sudden, yet appreciated, drop in temps. Quite a change from those nineties of the past many weeks. A quick look at the indoor-outdoor showed a pleasant 57 degrees. It later climbed slowly, if we can remember. The rest of the day was almost perfect except -- well, isn't there always an except or a but or a perhaps that we hear from those entertaining weather prognosticators on the tube?

I thought about wading out through the evergrowing grass that has kept lawns abnormally beautiful this year -- make those thoughts that might have been uttered by a mower-pusher whose brain was forming inaudibly, "Didn't I just mow this yard three days ago?"

That's a 'nuff said for this 'cuff. If you want to know what the low temp registered last Friday on that NOAA thermometer when I read it ... it was a nice cold -- make that cooler -- 53 degrees. That would be on the front page of the Eagle Observer ... as it is every week.

I know you'd never guess it, but I do enjoy writing about the local area once in a while. Did I hear you thinking, "Didn't you write about that "daggum" weather the last three weeks?" I guess after trudging that half-a-block out to read the thermometers and rain cylinder every evening for the past 40 years, it's hard to pass up a few sentences once in a while.

Bot now, for an important weather story for Gravette which appeared in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette several days ago. It wasn't an actual news story, but rather it appeared on the two-page Editorial--Voices section which is in the paper every day. It had a larger type headline that read "Weather Watch," followed by a smaller headline, "Has Arkansas' climate changed?" That was an eye-catcher.

If you don't read those pages with crazy letters and either maddening or lovely columns, you probably missed it. As an aside ... that is one of the reasons that newspapers really reflect opinions and ???. The article was written by a guest writer, John Gilmour, an emeritus professor of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science of the University of Arkansas.

I won't go into great detail about the article except for a brief mention of three weather topics, the first of which is tornadoes. Did you know that the number of tornadoes in our state from 1981 to 1996 averaged 21 annually? From 1997 to 2017, the average jumped to 34 such visits from those damaging funnel clouds. At that rate, Gilmour indicated, by 2030 the number could jump 11 more to 45 such storms. Tornado Alley is moving into Arkansas.

The other two topics are precipitation and temperatures in the Natural State with information from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, commonly called NOAA. That little building in my back yard was put out there in 1978, along with a cylinder to capture moisture: rainfall, snow, sleet and hail. It measures in hundredths of an inch.

The stations chosen for the state-wide story included Little Rock, Dumas, Mountain Home, Corning, Hope, and, yes, Gravette. Gilmour used statistics from those six stations for his study. It involved information from 1967 to 2018, ranging from 47 to 50 inches. He noted that precipitation is increasing statewide and "likely will continue to increase to an average maximum of 53 inches."

And temperatures? The study showed that the mercury increased and/or declined on an annual basis. Since the information was not available from Mountain Home and Corning, Gravette, Little Rock, Hope and Dumas stats from 1967 to 2018 were used. The average minimum was 60.8 followed by a maximum of 61.8. He indicated the increase will slowly rise to 62.4 by 2030. His conclusion: "The likelihood is that Arkansas will have more tornadoes, more precipitation and a small increase in temperatures during the next decade or so."

It was interesting to read the figures from Gravette that were used for the study. Whether that information came from the backyard in Gravette may or may not be involved. Some information could have come from other volunteer observers, some of whom, during the past few years phone in or provide daily information. In recent years, I have continued sending in a monthly report.

Anyway, Gravette gets the benefit of knowing it has been part of a statewide study, and shouldn't it? After all, wasn't the coldest temp ever recorded in Arkansas registered at Pond (that was the name of the little settlement post office near Gravette). The address had been changed before that frigid date: 29 degrees below zero on Feb. 13, 1905.

Till next time, get ready for a skiff of snow on Halloween and a white landscape on Thanksgiving Day.

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

Editorial on 10/09/2019

Print Headline: She did it again, one more time

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