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I was on CNN's web site and was a bit stunned to see this article regarding a deadly weather pattern setting up across the central US over the holiday weekend. Wow, that's a grim headline that incites concern and even fear.

As you probably know the next 2 weeks are statistically the hottest time of the year anywhere in the central US. I looked into the forecast highs on the EURO and this is what it shows through the holiday weekend . A lot of 80s and 90s with some 100 degree heat in SW Texas.




I researched the average high for Dallas and much of the surrounding area the next 3 days. Guess what they are? Mid 90s. I checked typical heat index values for July in the same area and its common for them to be 100 to 105. So in reality, the heat is nothing unusual over the southern Plains. In fact, it's pretty typical. Yet the screaming headlines are "potentially deadly weather pattern". Folks It's potentially deadly to drive to work....give me a break! Nothing like a little sensationalism to generate clicks.

Then there's today's political rally complete with fireworks held by our President in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Say what you want, but 7000 people in a confined area (masks and social distancing not required) in the midst of a growing pandemic is questionable at best, irresponsible at worst. Why do this at such a vulnerable time? What kind of message does this send.

On top of that, the risks extend beyond public health. Mount Rushmore has not seen fireworks in 10 years because the ecology of the area makes it easily susceptible to wildfires. The chart below says it all. The Black Hills are currently in moderate drought conditions.

The surrounding area, Black Hills National Forest, contains large populations of Ponderosa pine trees. Ponderosas are undergoing an infestation of pine beetles, which kill trees and create forests full of fire kindling.

According to the National Park Service, "Ponderosa pine is highly flammable and burns with great intensity and severity in the summer season in a typical dry year. " Intensity measures fire output and severity measures the impact" of a fire on the surrounding ecology. With the existing drought and warm temperatures anticipated, the risk from burning embers is particularly high.

I constantly tell my teenager that life comes down to the decisions you make. Your choices do have consequences, be smart. How do I explain the choices being made today, especially those that deny the existence of facts and science?

I've always tried to keep an open mind, respectful of the beliefs of others. I make a serious attempt to be a thoughtful well informed member of society. But I have to tell you, I'm tired and disgusted with the discourse, chaos, deception, and divisiveness that rules our country. I sat on the porch today and longed for sweeter times. They will come again someday but at what cost? Roll weather...TS

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