In conjunction with the Post's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, we are doing a series of stories describing the difficult weather conditions often encountered in both the North and the South. This first installment broadly outlines the winter weather prior to the outbreak of war in April 1861.
I don't know about you, but I thought that this past (meteorological) winter, although not particularly snowy around here, was brutally windy on many days, perhaps more so than in many years. But perceptions are often wrong, particular when it comes to the weather, so I decided to do a little research. Was I right or am I just getting older so that I can't take those "hold-your-hat-down-days" any more?
This is a continuation of my futuristic journey into how the year 2076 unfolded, both weatherwise and otherwise--in retrospect from the year 2077.
As the year, and the decade* have drawn to a close, many are looking back at the stand-out stories that have captured our attention. Instead, I've chosen to look ahead. But regardless of which side of the (political) fence you're on, take my little futuristic journey with a grain of salt. The various projections and assumptions are drawn from a variety of sources and are quite controversial, to say the least. Flash forward to December 2076, America's tercentennial (sometimes called tricentennial) year.
In "Forecasting Turkeys" part I, I walked you through some of the worst forecast busts from the founding of the National Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) in 1870 to 1969. Now, I walk you through some of the most horrendous prediction failures in the modern age of weather forecasting.
Our recent flirtation with drought-like conditions calls to mind the political wrangling which occurred a little over 75 years ago during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. On March 21st 1935, Hugh Bennett, a Roosevelt advisor, testified in a Senate hearing that several years of "black blizzards"* and severe soil erosion revealed that the nation was in dire need of more efficient soil conservation methods. (1) His testimony was hardly needed, however, because Bennett, aware from Washington Post stories and other sources that a Midwest dust cloud was about to overtake Washington, made sure windows were left open with water glasses nearby (as they usually were during both winter and summer in pre-air-conditioned DC).