The Times West Virginian

Life

August 14, 2012

Record heat, drought point to longer-term climate issues

OTTUMWA, Iowa — Driving by a boat ramp one Saturday morning last month, a local man noticed some white spots on the Des Moines River. He stopped to have a look.

Turns out the spots were fish bellies. The undersides of dead sturgeon formed glistening constellations in the muddy brown water.

In all, about 58,000 dead fish were along a 42-mile stretch, according to state officials, and the cause of death appeared to be heat. Biologists measured the water at 97 degrees in multiple spots.

"I've never seen anything quite like it," Justin Pedretti, who owns a farm near the boat ramp in Bonaparte, Iowa, and first reported the fish kill.

Under the most wide-reaching drought since 1956, and torched by the hottest July on record dating from 1895, the United States has been under the kind of weather stress that climatologists say will be more common if the long-standing trend toward higher U.S. temperatures continues. Most immediately affected are the nation's water sources and the people and crops that rely on them.

The flow of the Mississippi River has slowed — at times rivaling 40-year-lows — allowing saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to seep far up the river channel, threatening community water supplies at the river mouth. Likewise, across the nation's middle, many communities have invoked water restrictions to protect shrinking supplies. The lack of rain has sizzled the nation's corn crop, too, with agriculture officials reporting last week that the overall yield is expected to drop 16 percent from last year.

Scott Lakin, owner of a family farm in Indiana, was already dealing with the drought harming his corn crop. But his wife recently called with the discovery that the weather woes were striking much closer to home.

"I heard the washing machine making sounds — it wasn't filling," Marcy Lakin said. "Then I checked the faucets and couldn't get even a drip."

Text Only
Life
  • GriefShare helps ease the pain of loss

    For years, Judy Brown was weighed down by the painful burden of the grief from losing many family members.
    Her dad died in 1999, her sister in 2001, her mother in 2003 and an uncle in 2005. Her in-laws had passed away, also.
    It was almost more than she could bear.

    March 1, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 3.00.28 PM.png VIDEO: Remembering Harold Ramis

    The comedy legend, best known for his role in the "Ghostbusters" films, has passed away.

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Die-hard WVU fan goes to extremes to keep his attendance streak alive

    When WVU’s football team took on Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29, 2012, Rick Harshbarger was in the stands at Yankee Stadium cheering on the Mountaineers.
    The next day, Harshbarger was back in the Mountain State by noon to root for the WVU men’s basketball team as it faced Eastern Kentucky University at the Coliseum.

    February 15, 2014

  • Churches use big game as way of giving

    Super Bowl Sunday is almost like a national holiday.
    The day consists of family, friends, chips and dip, and various other festivities.
    But while the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos get ready to square off at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII today, Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont will be having a competition of its own.

    February 2, 2014

  • Change to Westminster show celebrates the everydog

    When the nation’s foremost dog show added an event open to mixed breeds, owners cheered that everydogs were finally having their day.
    They see the Westminster Kennel Club’s new agility competition, which will allow mutts at the elite event next month for the first time since the 1800s, as a singular chance to showcase what unpedigreed dogs can do.

    January 26, 2014

  • Family promise gave life to man in 31-year coma

    As his 7-year-old son Mikey lay in a hospital bed on life support, the victim of a drunk driver who had smashed into his family’s car, Paul Cortez took the boy’s hand and made a solemn promise to God: If his son survived, no matter in what condition, he and his family would always be there for him.

    January 26, 2014

  • Muppets mini-makeover aims to boost kids’ health

    Bert and Ernie jump rope and munch apples and carrots, and Cookie Monster has his namesake treat once a week, not every day. Can a Muppets mini-makeover improve kids’ health, too?
    A three-year experiment in South America suggests it can. Now, the Sesame Street project is coming to the United States.

    January 25, 2014

  • Should you friend your boss on Facebook?

    So? Should you and your boss be friends on Facebook? The answer, of course, is not simple.

    October 27, 2012

  • Aric and Melanie Naternicola.jpg Link to the past

    An old wood-and-iron lunk of an apple press is linking Aric Naternicola to a great-grandfather.
    “My grandfather (Joe Naternicola Sr.) told me his father had bought it from somebody 60, 70 years ago. And I restored it,” he said.

    October 24, 2012 3 Photos

  • 1059682_13738568.jpg Slate: The physics of cracking an egg

    My mother taught me to crack the egg on the rim of the mixing bowl before gently pulling the two halves apart with both hands, while my husband prefers to tap the eggshell gently with the dull edge of a knife. Others might favor striking the egg against the edge, or the surface, of a countertop.

    October 4, 2012 1 Photo

House Ads
Featured Ads