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George Ferguson Column: Welcome to Summer; But It better start acting like it soon

From The Fringe...

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

After a nicer than expected spring, the last two weeks of June have been colder than average with plenty of precipitation, too, and that's making outdoor recreation, so far this summer, a little more difficult to do.

Is anyone else getting the sense or the feeling of: Here we go again?

OK, for now, maybe I'm the only one, but as a I sit here in a hoodie, watching it not rain, but pour for three straight days, while also watching the tan I got IN MAY already disappear, I can't help but think it.

Could this really be happening? Could we, as a state, miss out on real summer weather after what was one of the harshest winters we've ever had?

Yes, that's my question right now, and you'll have to excuse me if I seem a bit whiny, or panicky, but man, right now, things are not looking bright and sunny like they're supposed to.

Maybe it's my fault, too. I was a grump all winter long, though I know I wasn't alone in that. And there were many January and February nights where I snarkily made comments to my wife, comments like "watch, it will be cold and rainy all summer long, and then we'll go right back into another cold winter."

At the time, though, when I was being grouchy beyond my years, I didn't really believe that. I actually believed that, one, we would make it through the hellacious winter we were experiencing, and soon enough, we'd all be complaining, myself included, about how hot and dry it was. I actually did believe that would be the case.

And I further believed it when NOAA's predictions from spring were way, way off. Yes, spring started rough, and I know, because I spent the better part of March digging out the tennis courts from the snow cave they were under. But by mid-April everything changed. While weather predictions called for snow, cold and above-average precipitation in both April and May, it never materialized. Instead, my Havre High tennis season was filled with mostly warm, sunny and dry days, and by the state tournament in late May, I was already tan, and I got a blistering hot sunburn in Polson.

Off to a good start.

And then came NOAA's predictions for Montana for June through August. And the prediction was well above average temperatures and well below average precipitation. In other words, my kind of summer. Now, I don't mean to be insensitive to those who need moisture, and trust me, I like moisture, too, as I have really grown to enjoy taking care of my lawn. But, I'll admit, moisture and too much of it doesn't jive with what I love to do in the brief summer months we get around here. So I was pretty jacked to see NOAA's three-month prediction.

Thus far, however, it hasn't panned out, not in the last two weeks anyway. Havre is averaging nearly a full seven degrees below normal for the last 14 days, and now thunderstorms and rain showers are coming in seemingly with the same frequency that the snow storms did just a mere three months ago.

Farther south of us and to the west, it's even worse. Flooding along the Rocky Mountain Front in towns like Augusta, Simms and Sun River, has become a very serious situation. And it makes me think, why can't Montana weather be normal, even for just a little while?

We get horrible snow, instead of just the beautiful snow that we love. Now, we can't just have a thunderstorm or two. No, it has to deluge for days on end, or, in the case of southeastern Montana earlier this month, drop hail that destroyed everything in its path. It's just so extreme, and now, for the second time, it appears NOAA has got it all wrong. It was completely wrong about a cold, snowy spring, and now, with the first day of summer upon us, it looks like it was dead wrong about June, too. The 15-day forecast calls for below average temperatures and above average precipitation, and that forecast takes us right up to the Fourth of July.

Of course, maybe some good will eventually come of it. Bumper crops, green lawns, plenty of water for animals and a mild fire season could all be the result of what we're seeing with the weather, and those are all great things indeed.

On the other hand, however, right now all I'm seeing is flooding, I'm seeing no sunshine for days, and I'm seeing a few nights when I damn near consider turning the heat back on.

And I'm seeing something else, and maybe I'm the only one, but I'm going to whine about it anyway - I'm seeing the things I look forward to the most being washed away with every rain shower, and every colder than average day that comes along.

Yes, summer is where I make up for lost time. I spend hours at the tennis courts, and even more time on the golf course. I spend as much time in Glacier National Park as possible, and love to visit places like Flathead Lake, Beaver Creek Park and golf courses around the great state of Montana. Oh yeah, and there's a really big outdoor concert, some band named Pearl Jam, in August in Missoula, too.

All of those things I just listed above don't go too well with rain, or cold, or rain, cold and wind, or cold and wind, or any combination of the three of them. Neither does baseball, or softball, or boating at Fresno, or kayaking at Bear Paw Lake, or fishing, bike riding, hiking or camping.

Those are all things you either can't do, or at the very least, are not very fun to do, in the summertime when the weather is like it has been lately.

And while technically, summer is only one day old, it's not off to a great start, that's for sure.

Now, can it turn around? Sure it can. As we all know, the weather around here can flip on a dime. Will it though? That's the question I want an answer to, and only time and mother nature will answer that.

I can say this though, I sure want it to turn around because my summer, which involves sports from morning until night, can't be the way I want it to be if the weather doesn't improve, and I'm sure many of you who love summer sports and outdoor recreation feel the same way.

So here's hoping summer gets better. Here's hoping that, after a horrific winter, we all get what we deserve, a little warmth and a little sunshine.

Oh and one more thing, I think I'm done believing NOAA for a while. Because they're predicting an El Niño winter for the Havre area, which means warmer days, and I'm not going to lie, I would love some of that. But given what I've seen, and am continuing to see out of this weather the last year, I'll believe that when I see it.

So here's hoping summer gets better. Here's hoping that, after a horrific winter, we all get what we deserve, a little warmth and a little sunshine.

Oh and one more thing, I think I'm done believing NOAA for a while. Because they're predicting an El Nino' winter for the Havre area, which means warmer days, and I'm not going to lie, I would love some of that. But, given what I've seen, and am continuing to see out of this weather the last year, I'll believe that when I see it.

 

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