Good morning and greetings, tropical storm fans. What is it with the national weather picture? If you’re keeping a scorecard at home, the weather across our nation has been wackier in 2011 than the statements coming out of the mouth of Texas Governor Rick Perry.
It has been a year of extreme conditions in the USA, with killer tornadoes, paralyzing blizzards, unrelenting triple digit heat, record-setting drought, massive flooding, raging wildfires, unusual earthquakes and most significantly, the Yankees having the second-best record in baseball with just one proven starting pitcher.
In an article written by Associated Press Science writer Seth Borenstein, he states that total weather losses so far for the year top $35 billion and 25 cents, and that’s not counting Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee or the upcoming NBA lockout. This is not to say that the rest of the world has been having a picnic in 2011, as there was the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, major flooding in Australia, the devastating drought in Africa and the bring your guns to home and work program sponsored by the Mexican drug cartels.
And as Andrew Luck would have it, we’re right in the middle of September, when hurricanes and pro football take center stage. In the first six months of 2011, there were 98 natural disasters in the United States, not to mention the current field of Republican presidential candidates. That is double the average of the 1990′s, which doesn’t include the Columbine school massacre, the O.J .Simpson murder trial and “Beverly Hills 90210.”
Then there’s the unforgiving, relentless, sweltering heat that has been massacring the southwestern states. Tens of thousands of daily weather CD’s and records, including most consecutive mornings on West Cliff Drive without seeing the sun, have been broken or tied. Nearly 1,000 all-time records have been set, with most of them heat or rain, or in the supreme words of Diana Ross, “No wind, no rain, nor winter storms, can stop me babe, oh babe.”
This has also been the hottest summer in Texas history. How hot has it been? It was so hot, Tim Duncan saw an Amish guy buying an air conditioner. More records have been broken than at my high school graduation party. The word scorching doesn’t begin to describe it or Dirk Nowitzki’s outside shooting in the NBA Finals.
The Lone Star state has also experienced it’s worst fire season in history, with over 3.5 million acres burned to go along with it’s driest one year period ever. The stars at night may be big and bright, but it’s been a blazing inferno deep in the heart of Texas. And if that weren’t enough, in July, Oklahoma went into the books as America’s hottest month by any state in recorded history. And this doesn’t include Timothy McVeigh burning in hell.
One of the most troubling aspects of the extreme heat is the record-high nighttime temperatures. It may cool off at night here on the central coast, but a good part of the nation gets treated to the relaxing in an oven experience. The evening highs shows that the country isn’t cooling off at all in the evening, which is what the crops, the human body and my night nurses need.
So why in the wide, wide world of sports do I bring this up? Because here in Santa Cruz, instead of percolating in the heat, we’re still waiting for things to warm up. We had one day last week that I would describe as Indian summer, as the rest of the week was more like August fog mode. Now I’m not complaining, as I’ll take the fog and clouds any day over sweltering heat, but if it warmed up a tad and the sky turned blue before Oprah comes on in the afternoon, Steadman and I wouldn’t be upset.
For today’s photo relay we are going vertical, with three waterfall shots followed by three from the rainbow files from the Garden Isle. The first photo is Wailau Falls, followed by a brilliant red clay waterfall that I shot on the road to Waimea Canyon. The next are cascading waterfalls from after a rain on the mountains that form the backdrop to the town of Hanalei. This was the view from my bedroom on the north shore of Kauai along with an box of Mauna Loa chocolate covered macadamia nuts. It was a tremendous place to quietly read and sob in silence.
We finish up with some vivid Hanalei rainbow moments. According to my lunar calendar, we have one more week’s worth of South Pacific photos before returning to local action, so sunrises, sunsets and more of my fascinating life story are on the way.
On to the late night. “The Republican presidential candidates will have a debate at the Reagan Library. They were going to have it at the George W. Bush Library but they couldn’t fit all eight of them in the bouncy house. The oil industry said if they were allowed to drill more, they could create over a million new jobs. Of course most of those jobs would be cleaning oil off ducks. In Iowa Sarah Palin ran a half marathon and came in second place. Of course no one saw her do it, because she refused to tell anyone she was running.” –Conan O’Brien
“A town in Arizona wants to have its own version of Spain’s running of the bulls. Right. If there’s one thing Arizona is missing it’s thousands of Spanish-speaking people running for their lives.” Apparently, Mitt Romney is planning to build a huge addition onto his beach house in California. And here’s the cool part: They’re using the same wood that they used to build Mitt Romney. A woman in Alaska punched a bear in the face after it threatened her dog Or as Sarah Palin put it, ‘Teach me, sensei.’” –Jimmy Fallon
“‘The White House agreed to move President Obama’s speech from Wednesday to Thursday because the Republicans have a debate scheduled for Wednesday. So the debate that no one is going to watch holds more weight than the speech no one is going to believe. “Michele Bachmann said that if she is elected president, she would consider eliminating the Department of Education because ‘the states could do a gooder job.’ “A New Mexico state trooper in full uniform was caught having sex with a woman on the hood of her car. She was so drunk that halfway through she said, “Hey, that’s not a Breathalyzer!” –Jay Leno
That’s our national weather report. So enjoy the last full week of summer and the start of the new fall TV season.
We’ll catch you banging winners from the baseline. Aloha, mahalo and later, Brooklyn Decker fans.