Monday, May 26, 2008

The Argus Observes --- “It’s the atom bomb explosions in Nevada that caused all this rain.”

From the June 4, 1953 edition of The Argus-Observer:

Man is full of curiosity with a penchant for the mysterious and unusual.

I suppose that’s why people like sensational explanations for unusual phenomena.

For instance, at every turn these days you hear people say, “Haven’t you heard, it’s the atom bomb explosions in Nevada that caused all this rain.”

I thought maybe this explanation was one that occurred just in Malheur County, but it must be a fairly general idea, because the (Portland) Oregonian ran a feature story Sunday explaining that there is just no basis for blaming wet weather on the atom explosions.

The weather has been just as unusually wet in Portland as in Malheur County and in Portland that is a lot of rain. The rose city had 28 inches of rain in the first five months of 1953 compared to 8 inches in Ontario.

Is this really unusual? Not at all says the weather man in Portland. Although it is the wettest first five months for any year since 1916, there have been seven wetter springs in the history of recording weather in Portland, and 1879 was much wetter with 39 inches of rainfall in the first six months.

So there you have the official weather viewpoint: “Nothing very unusual about this rainfall. Why it happened just like this only 37 years ago.”

But here in Malheur County where we have been keeping weather records for only ten years, it looks like a wet spring.

Is this blaming of the weather on atom bombs the first time that people have fought to explain away the weather by something new in the atmosphere?

Not at all, according to Col. Eckley S. Ellison, head of the Portland weather bureau office.

He says the ruckus over the atom bombs spoiling the weather is nothing compared to the storms of protest that swept the county when radio stations first began broadcasting. The radio waves were blamed for drought, flood, hail, lightening and rings around the moon. – By Don Lynch

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