Oliver Manufacturing sits on the outskirts of La Junta, Colorado, in what’s known as the Arkansas Valley. From our offices, one can watch the wind carry tumbleweeds across the dry plains or spot summer storms developing on the horizon. We always hope for those storms to drift our way, bearing with them refreshing rains, but they rarely do. It’s something that I long ago came to accept about the region I grew up in. And yet, every year seems to swelter more than the last.
Really, “seems to,” might not be strong enough language. On June 18, the Otero County Sheriff’s Office posted this in part of an online PSA:
“The lower 2/3 of the State of Colorado is currently under fire restrictions, and the Southeast Region of Colorado is under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. Otero County is the last to go to restrictions, however, based on the extreme level of drought, extreme dry conditions, and serious lack of moisture, the safe and responsible thing to do is to enact these restrictions. It has been 10 years since conditions have been this dire, and a burn ban was put into effect.”
Looking at climate data, one can see that the sentiment that the world is consistently getting warmer is accurate. 2016 marked the third year in a row to beat global temperature highs. In the United States specifically, 2016 was the second hottest year in the country’s recorded history. The year’s annual average of 54.9 degrees Fahrenheit only barely lost to 2012, which keeps the title for Hottest Year in the United States with an average high of 55.3 degrees. Do you want to know the interesting part? 2017 had an average high of 54.6 degrees. Not far off from setting records itself.
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