This is part of an ongoing series in which we try to make ourselves feel better the horrible weather by making jokes about it — kind of like Woody Allen would do, but without any family dysfunction.
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It’s cooler in Oklahoma — where it isn’t on fire.
“Cooler” is what’s known as a “relative term.” On Friday, we outlined the many, varied, terrible afflictions the state of Oklahoma faces due to the drought, while the state’s senior senator gallivants around Washington raising money from fossil-fuel companies.
Over the weekend, things got worse. From USA Today (yesterday):
Stubborn wildfires burning across Oklahoma probably will continue for the next several days, as hot, dry conditions keep danger levels high there and elsewhere.
“Nature will not be delivering any wildfire relief,” National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro said Sunday. Fire danger throughout Oklahoma and North Texas will remain “high” to “very high” through at least Tuesday, he said.
Even expected midweek showers could be a mixed blessing, Vaccaro said. Forecasters said thunderstorms could hit the region Tuesday or Wednesday, but lightning could ignite more wildfires.
I mean, how big a fuck you is that? “Hey, Oklahoma, here’s some rain! ZAP. Psych, enjoy the fire.”
Over the weekend, a fire in Creek County in northeastern Oklahoma burned 91 square miles. A state Forestry Service spokesperson noted that fire season is just getting underway.
The high temperature in Oklahoma City on Sunday reached 99°, snapping a string of 18 straight days the temperature had reached 100° or greater. The latest forecast calls for a few more days of temperatures in excess of 100° this week, but nothing like the heat wave last week that brought an unprecedented three straight days of 112° heat.
Great, right? If you can avoid the calamitous wildfires, the temperature will only be in the ’90s. So bring a jacket. Ideally, a fireproof one.
In lieu of dolphins, New Yorkers are swimming with bacteria.
This is not meant to refer to the bacteria that are literally swimming around inside New Yorkers. Rather, it refers to local pools and beaches. Popular due to the heat; unpopular due to the disgustingness.
The Danish American Beach Club on Eastchester Bay and West Fordham Street Association beach on Pelham Bay both tested positive for elevated levels of bacteria in excess of the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of 104 particles in a 100 milliliter sample. Water containing enough bacteria to infect one in 28 swimmers is considered “safe” for recreation, according to the EPA. The Danish American club had a not too disgusting 126 particles in its sample, which is not so awful, but West Fordham Street had a cess-pool like 282 particles.
Swimming with bacteria lacks the majesty of swimming with dolphins, anyway. So you might as well stay home.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, there was a dolphin in the Hudson earlier this summer. It died.
Every single fish in the Midwest is now dead, give or take.
Speaking of water and dead things. From the Daily Mail:
About 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon were killed in Iowa last week as the water reached 97 degrees. Meanwhile, Nebraska fishery officials said they’ve seen thousands of dead sturgeon, catfish, carp, and other species, including the endangered pallid sturgeon, in the Lower Platte River.
And Illinois biologists said the hot weather has killed tens of thousands of large- and smallmouth bass and channel catfish, and is threatening the population of the greater redhorse fish, a state-endangered species.
Although fish are objectively gross, this is still sad. Granted, this is the Daily Mail, so it’s possible that only 17 fish died and they just rounded that number up, spending more time on taking sexy pictures of nearby fisherpeople.
We can also add fish kill to the list of ways in which drought can interrupt our power supply.
So many fish died in Illinois’s Powerton Lake two weeks ago that the carcasses clogged an intake screen near a power plant. A spokesman for the coal-fired plant said workers shut down one of its two generators for several hours because of the low water levels at the lake, which it uses for cooling.
Or maybe they were just making a political statement. If so: rest in peace, noble piscine activists. Your sacrifice will long be remembered.
South Dakota’s agriculture industry is getting hammered.
From the Daily Beast:
Most farmers use the same calculation: of every 10 years, three or four will be below optimum because of weather, either too much or too little rain or natural disasters like hailstorms that can wipe out entire crops in a few minutes. [Farmer Dale] Larsch says most farmers are set up for at least one bad year. “We have had a couple of good years in a row,” he says, “so most farmers will have been saving for years like this. But a couple of these in a row, and we will start seeing farm sales. We’ve had to learn to deal with this before. And we will deal with it again.”
[Farmers Tyler and LaRon] Gerlach, who expect a 70 percent loss this year, say it’s just the nature of the business they are in. “You understand the risk when you are in a business where you basically throw yourself at the mercy of the weather,” says Tyler. “This is a bad year, but next year could be even worse. That won’t change what we do.”
See also: the climate crap shoot.
The sad irony is that South Dakota has one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates — in part due to fossil-fuel extraction. So if farmers give up on the land, they can at least find work ensuring that the land is never usable again. A consolation prize.
State and county fairs are ruined. Forever? Maybe!
It is so hot that no one wants to go to state and county fairs, but that’s fine because the animals and vegetables are all withered and depressing. (Please note: the use of the terms “no one” and “all” are not meant to be taken literally. Think: 98 percent. Somewhere around there, maybe.)
Fair judges speak of discolored, shrunken vegetables and nearly empty categories (only one gladiola appeared at the Dane County Fair, a judge there said). But in some places, human attendance has shriveled, too — some combination, organizers say, of miserably hot weather and larger, overwhelming concerns back home on the farms.
“It was the roughest I’ve seen,” said Gary Shemanski, facilities manager at the Johnson County Fair in Iowa. There, he said, attendance fell, four rabbits perished in heat that passed 100 degrees, and a beloved, final fireworks display was canceled for fear of setting off a fire in the bone-dry county.
Unlike fish, rabbits are cute. That makes this sad.
Preview of coming attractions.
Don’t forget, it’s still hurricane season.
This dog is enjoying a treat!
As always, we like to close on a cheerier note than dead rabbits and states on fire. So here, an adorable dog (who happens to live in my house) eating bit of peanut butter sandwiched between two biscuits.
This is a true story: we used to have two fish that my wife won at a fair, but they died. Little did I know how coincidental that would turn out to be.