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Not My Imagination

January 16, 2013 - Heather Ziegler
It's been at least three years since I've purchased and regularly worn a turtleneck sweater, pullover sweater or fleece item that wasn't easily removed when I get too hot at the office or in church or wherever I am.

I used to blame the hot flashes and always been too warm on hormones, weight issues, poor air circulation at various locations and even food.

But I've learned that it is not just me. The Natural Resources Defense Council, (I had never heard of them before today but apparently they are an environmental watchdog kind of group) released data that shows that West Virginia was the in the top 10 states to have record-breaking heat last year. In fact, the Mountain State also saw record-breaking storms, rainfall and snow events last year (not all in the Northern Panhandle thank goodness.)

Other states sporting these record-breaking weather events included: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The group said that 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the United States (that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) State of the Climate report released last Tuesday.

It also reported the summer of 2012 was the worst drought in 50 years across the nation's breadbasket, with more than 1,300 U.S. counties across 29 states declared drought disaster areas.

We had the hottest March on record in the contiguous U.S. and July was the hottest single month ever recorded in the lower 48 states.

Polar ice caps are melting (I can relate). The ocean is warming up until soon it will rival bath water. If the cicadas are screeching outside on hot summer nights, I won't hear them over the hum of the air conditioner or fans. We built one campfire last summer because it was too warm to even think about roasting weenies in that kind of weather. The marshmallows for the s'mores melted before they got near the graham crackers. As we look toward the summer of 2013 and knowing these statistics, could the local parks' swimming pools please stay open past 6 p.m? Even just one hour more would be great for the daytime working crowd. They were so many evenings last year that I would have loved to take a dip after work but could not see going to the pool for just 30 minutes. It takes me almost that long to get into my swimsuit, find a bench or spot on the grass and convince myself the water is just fine! If the parks packaged this idea right, they could promote after work specials and incorporate picnic dinners or other enticements to get people there on sweltering nights. Maybe not every night but a couple times a week would be lovely. Some of the city pools already have night swims. You wouldn't have to ask me twice. I would take my swimwear to work and head straight to Oglebay if the hours were right. I'm feeling cooler already just thinking about a nice swim ....


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