Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hot Weather

According to the weatherman on one of the Joplin TV stations, this summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record. I know it's one of the hottest in my memory.
I think the summer of 1954 is considered the hottest on record in the Ozarks, when we had 39 days (I believe) in which the temperature topped 100 degrees, with several of those days topping 110. At the rate we're going, we may challenge the 1954 record of 39 days with temps over 100.
I vaguely recall the summer of 1954, when I would have been seven years old. Actually, I don't recall the specific year. I only recall that during a couple of the summers of my childhood it was extremely hot. It has been only during my adulthood, after I read or was told that 1953 and 1954 were unusually hot summers, that I've concluded those must have been the years I remember as being very hot. We didn't have air conditioning, either, back in those days, but somehow the heat didn't bother me much. I'd hate to have to be without air conditioning this summer. I think it would bother me a lot, but, of course, I'm not seven anymore. Temperature extremes don't seem to bother kids the way they do adults. At least they didn't bother me and my childhood friends when we had important things to do like playing baseball or going fishing.
Extremes in weather always seem to be a topic of conversation. Recently I ran onto a piece in the September 4, 1881 Joplin Daily Herald in which a correspondent was reporting from McDonald County and complaining about the hot, dry weather. "The rains of last week that visited Joplin and vicinity failed to reach this region," the correspondent said, "and, if possible, everything looks more dry and desolate here than there. Early planted corn will make hardly a half crop, while late planting will barely make fodder. Wheat yielded about a two thirds crop. Along Lost Creek, in the neighborhood of Seneca, the corn crop would have been very good but for the chinch-bugs. What the drouth has accomplished in other localitites they have done there."

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