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Some claim that everything is warming up, but the coldest temperature ever recorded in this country, 69.7� below zero, took place on January 20 last year at Roger's Pass, Mont. Readings of 13� below or under have been taken in 47 states, and the 48th, good old sunny Florida, has had an official 2� below zero.
It has gone above 100� in every state. North Dakota has had 121�, while Florida has had only 109�. Death Valley, Calif. produced the highest ever officially recorded in the U.S., 134�. This is less than three degrees under the world record of 136.4� in a Libyan village in 1922. On June 22,1947, a foot of rain fell in 42 minutes at Holt, Mo. The biggest hailstone hit Potter, Neb. It was 17 inches in circumference, or nearly 6 inches in diameter. California has had a 60-inch snowfall in a single day.
These are facts, but it also is a fact that Floridians are sympathetic yet a little smug because the Northeast is getting the hurricane poundings that they used to get. The scientists haven't explained this yet. One theory is that it has to do with mysterious changes in the upper air currents. But they admit they don't know whether the trend will continue. For all they know, the hurricanes may be back south again next year.
In desperation more people are turning back to such traditional weather prognosticators as woolly bears, groundhogs and the like. But this year even the woolly bears, those fuzzy caterpillars with the black ends and brown middles, went into a dither. When Dr. C. H. Curran of the American Museum of Natural History went out this fall to make the official survey, some bears had narrow bands (assuring a mean winter), some had wide bands (meaning, relax, it'll be mild).
Now The Old Farmer's Almanac comes right out and says this winter will be "as severe as any of the 20th century." Their man, Abe Weatherwise, does this by delving into a trunkful of old statistics.
This may be one way of doing it. Another would be to turn lots of money over to the Weather Bureau for research into the problem of what goes with the weather, anyway. But research can be dangerous, too. Two months ago a weather recording instrument fell through the roof of a man's house in Boone, Iowa. The gadget weighed 130 pounds.
Well—do you think it's going to rain or snow tomorrow?
SHOOT AND RUN