Of all the Januarys I have endured during my tenure on Planet Earth, this one – overall, from the first to the thirty-first – is the warmest I can recall.
After Christmas, people living in this area brace themselves for what January will surely hit them with. During January 2020 we’ve had a few days when the high rose only into the upper 30s and a couple of nights when it dropped to around 16 or 17.
That’s mild in comparison to how most Januarys have hammered us. In the late 1960s Greenbo Lake froze over from shore to shore, and a few area fishermen discovered ice fishing.
Wally Ansley, a transplant from northern Ohio, introduced me to the sport. We drilled a hole through the four- to five-inch ice off the mouth of Pruitt Hollow and caught a limit of 12- to-15-inch bass.
And I’ll never forget that January of 1977. In the middle of the month, the temperature in the Ashland-Portsmouth reach dropped to 13 below zero. It stayed below zero for several days. The Ohio River froze over and nearly stopped all towboat traffic. The ice was seven inches thick in some places.
Officials at the Greenup Locks and Dam reported one boat, pushing four barges of coal and four of heating oil. plowed a path through the middle of the river and locked through.
Snowfall was so heavy that some homeowners ventured onto their roofs to shovel and push it to the ground before the snow’s weight brought the roof down around them.
At the Hardin Farm near South Shore, the snow did send the roof of a large greenhouse crashing down.
At my home on Sand Hill, two miles east of South Shore, the mainline of South Shore Water Works froze. I live right at the top of the rise in dead-end First Street. My water didn’t freeze up, but it did for the four or five houses below me.
I remember we hooked up garden hoses to run from my outdoor spigot to the others to supply them with water. The line was left open to run when not in use for flushing toilets and washing dishes.
Thankfully, water plant owner Joe Hannah agreed not to read my water meter.
So maybe there is something to be concerned about when some scientists warn of the threat of global warming, greenhouse gases brought on by high levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels?
It doesn’t matter much what I think of the threat. But, throwing in my two cents worth, I’ll agree that our winters are getting warmer and some unusual weather patterns are the result. But I don’t believe periodic melting of the ice at the polar caps will ever raise ocean levels to the point that they threaten coastal residents.
And I don’t believe that adding a carbon tax of even as much as $1.50 a gallon on gasoline and jet fuel will have any effect on reversing or halting the situation.
Nor do I believe it’s time to join some of the cures offered by the “Green Revolution,” such as throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your
gas-juggling SUV and speedboat, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all your 50-cent light bulbs with $10.00 light bulbs.
A global heating and cooling cycle will probably continue
to happen, despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.
The beginning of this coming week was expected to bring a high in the mid-60s. And Creighton Stevens and I have plans (and a bucket of minnows) to launch my boat and try to catch a mess of sauger and walleye.
There’s nothing like a rod-bending, line-swerving fish on to help us forget all our troubles, at least for a while.
Reach G. Sam Piatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 932-3619.