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Worst winter in ... forever

Published on May 16, 2017 1:51PM


So exactly how bad was the winter of 2016-17? Depends upon whom you ask.

I have heard anywhere from the worst in 20 to the worst in 30 years, and a couple folks willing to go even further back. We haven’t done an in-depth comparison of weather conditions for the season, but if someone has, it would be great to see the results.

The prevailing idea seems to be that Wallowa County residents had been spoiled by unusually nice winters over the past few years. When a more normal season reared its head, everyone had forgotten the more arctic winters of yore.

I read recently that there is a general belief that climate trends in North America are moving north. Therefore, the weather that was once typical of far northern Nevada, for instance, now is closer to the normal for Wallowa County. You see evidence of it in the Midwest where the summer heat and humidity that once was typical of Kansas and Iowa is often manifest today in Minnesota and North Dakota.

A quick comparison reveals that Wallowa County and Winnemucca, Nev., do have some weather traits in common, and they are at around the same elevation. So is Las Vegas weather next for us?

If it comes in January, that would be fine. Otherwise, pass.

DARYL THOMPSON, a reader from Milton Freewater sent me a note about an article published in 2014 in Air and Space Magazine about Enterprise.

William Bennett wrote the piece, which provides the account of a Consolidated B-24 Liberator making an unscheduled landing at the golf course. That was in 1944 at the tail end of World War II.

I read “The Bombers on the Golf Course” and found it fascinating. I think you will too. Find it here: goo.gl/l2wvkH.

The event caused quite a stir. “Lost bomber lands here after harrowing experience” was the headline in the Chieftain.

Bennett’s piece reveals a great deal about our community in that period with slightly more than a year before Germany would surrender. While the military contemplated how to get the plane back in the air, locals visited the site of the crash daily, he wrote, especially young women.

“... With so many men from this farming, ranching and logging community having been sent off to war, all these young men were a welcome sight,” Bennett wrote. There was even a marriage as a result –– Phyllis Zolman and Sgt. Bradford Botts, the top gunner on the plane’s crew. Botts was a native of Flora.

Interestingly the Chieftain bound volumes for 1944-45 are much smaller than the years before and after. The reason? The war was on, and newsprint and ink were in short supply.

STEPHEN KLIEWER was addressing the Wallowa County Rotary Club last week regarding the opening of a new pain clinic in Enterprise. He happened to mention that women suffer disproportionately from chronic pain.

“That’s because they’re married to men,” one wag in the audience chimed in.

Could be, I suppose.

Wahl is editor of the Chieftain and a student of World War II history.



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