In a time when the national media trumpets any brief heat wave or unusually warm local weather as “proof” of global warming, the winter of 2006-2007 offered quite a counterpunch of remarkable cold weather events.
Calif. Citrus Crop Destroyed
In California’s San Joaquin Valley, several consecutive nights of below-freezing temperatures in mid-January devastated the state’s $1 billion citrus crop.
Agriculture officials estimated three-fourths of the citrus crop had been destroyed, along with much of the valley’s other fruits and vegetables, such as lucrative avocado and strawberry crops.
California officials compared the mid-January freeze to a similar one in 1990. It took two full years for farmers to recover from the 1990 freeze.
“This is one of those freezes that, unfortunately, we’ll all remember,” A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, told the Associated Press.
Emergency Aid Irony
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) estimated a total loss of $1 billion from the prolonged cold weather and applied to the federal government for emergency monetary relief to help deal with the economic disaster.
Schwarzenegger’s appeal for disaster relief was particularly ironic given the governor’s high-profile criticism of the Bush administration for not devoting enough economic resources to fight global warming. Schwarzenegger has repeatedly alleged that rising temperatures induced by human activities will cause his state severe economic harm.
Snow in Los Angeles and Arizona
The cold weather provided striking images for residents throughout the state. The most improbable scene was snowfall burying palm trees in the resort community of Malibu.
Even Los Angeles reported snowfall on January 17, marking the first snowfall at Los Angeles International Airport in 45 years.
Improbable snowfall was not limited to California. The usually hot and dry desert community of Tucson, Arizona, just north of the Mexican border, received an inch and a half of snow on January 21. Downtown Phoenix was also blanketed with rare snowfall.
PETA Ignores Freezing Cattle
In Colorado, ranchers scrambled to save more than 300,000 cows and steers in a region where even cold-tested residents were amazed at the winter’s fury. Gov. Bill Owens (R) was particularly outraged when the leftist advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) refused a request for emergency assistance to help save cattle that were literally freezing to death in blizzard conditions and 15-foot-high snowdrifts.
The state asked PETA for help airlifting food to cattle and rescuing those freezing in snowdrifts, but the advocacy group refused.
“You’re going to save them, and then in six months they’re going to be killed and end up on someone else’s plate,” argued PETA spokeswoman Reannon Peterson in a radio interview.
“What a bunch of losers,” responded Owens. “Don’t give your money to PETA.”
Record Snow in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska also suffered from abnormally cold and snowy weather this past winter. The city received record snowfall in December and had received a record 74 inches of snow by January.
The city could not keep up with the cost of trucking snow away, resulting in two-lane streets reduced to one lane. Anchorage exhausted its snow removal funds and was $2 million in deficit for snow response by mid-January. Large vehicles such as fire trucks could not go anywhere, and hoses were frozen.
In Washington, DC, Congressional hearings to investigate global warming were cancelled when an ice storm and frigid conditions shut down the nation’s capital.
On the same day, Maryville University in suburban St. Louis announced it was canceling a presentation of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth global warming documentary because of unusually cold and snowy conditions.
Dr. John Dale Dunn ([email protected]), an inactive attorney, teaches emergency medicine at Fort Hood, Texas and is a member of the Science and Policy Advisory Board of the American Council on Science and Health.