Pat Shingleton: "Barrow, the Sun, and 100 Year Events."
Sunset occurred in Barrow, Alaska, America's northernmost city, at 1:29 p.m. today. Residents will remain in the dark for 82 days or until sunrise at 1:12 p.m., January 22nd. From May 11th until July 31st, the Sun does not set in Barrow. During my younger years, I had the urge to return “home.” For me, it was the tenth largest market in the country - Pittsburgh. After a couple of years at WAFB, I left in '79, assuming the chief forecasting duties at WPXI, the NBC affiliate. I enjoyed the "City of Champions" as the Steelers and the Pirates won national titles. However, I once counted 64 consecutive days without sunshine. We may experience some clouds and spotty rain Sunday and Monday. Onto other events... We remember "The Great Flood of 2016" whereby 23 inches of rain were recorded from a single column of rain and adjacent low pressure system settling on Natchez. This season a record of five hurricanes hit one state - Louisiana. In years past Katrina and other weather disasters were identified within the "100-year-episodes." Similar economic problems have been referenced as a “once-in-a-hundred-year” event. Years ago, a Villanova University professor studied the terms, “100-year” and “500 year events.” According to the Associate Press, Robert Traver was quoted as saying. “Whoever invented that term should be shot.” From Midwest floods to snow and ice storms they are often identified as once-in-a-lifetime events. Scientists are now suggesting that the terms should be either re-evaluated or not used at all. The public interpretation is often literal that such occurences will not happen again for 100 or 500 years. Government experts often use the terms to compare a event's severity.