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Friday, May 6, 2016

Hot in summer, cold in winter

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Growing up in the Ozarks, before air conditioners were commonplace, gave us an appreciation for the weather.

Not only was it necessary to get fuel (wood, coal or oil) for the winter, but raising and lowering windows was a necessary chore in the summer when it rained.

Who hasn't had to dash out to the clothesline when a sudden storm came up? The weather even influenced bedtimes.

Few people worry about the weather today -- maybe pilots and farmers or ranchers do -- but it was the center of conversation years ago.

Most farmers that I knew were like a one-person weather station. Only they didn't measure rain or heat or the like with numbers. They said things like "it lit-tra-leee came a down pour out at my place," or "it was the coldest or hottest that I can remember."

When I was a kid, the weather reports came from C. C. Williford on KWTO in Springfield.

Then when KWPM in West Plains went on the air in 1947, Mr. (Percival) Kreigh kept track of the weather with instruments in the backyard of his house and gave a report twice a day, always remembering to tell his loyal audience when to cover plants, etc. (The weather report was not timed or limited by the station. Mr. Kreigh quit talking when he was finished.)

The problem with weather predictions coming out of Springfield, in that day, was the fact that the weather was often different because of the terrain and weather patterns. Radar and elaborate maps have helped, but television weather people might be wise to keep an Old Farmers Almanac on their desk, if not a box of crickets.

As a kid, it perturbed me when the Springfield station predicted snow but little or none fell at Thayer, where I lived.

Most of us had no idea that Springfield, at 1,300 feet, was that much higher in elevation than Thayer at 532 feet and the effect it could have on freezing precipitation.

Speaking of the Old Farmer's Almanac, it was free at feed stores and most folks wouldn't be without it. They did almost everything by the signs and the moon phases, from planting, harvesting and even courting. They followed the rule that said to plant underground vegetables in the dark of the moon and aboveground crops in the light of the moon. Skeptics sometimes learned the hard way to go by the zodiac signs when castrating. The almanac also had charts on when to go fishing.

According to the National Weather Service, the record hot temperature for Missouri is shared by Warsaw and Union at 118 degrees on July 14, 1954. Warsaw also holds the record for the low temperature in Missouri at -40 degrees on Feb. 13, 1905.

The global warming people need to visit the Old Farmers Almanac writer. I don't know where he gets his information, but it's right, at least some of the time.

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