Hard rain is 'gonna fall' on President Trump as heat waves turn into a silent killer - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Hard rain is ‘gonna fall’ on President Trump as heat waves turn into a silent killer

BALTIMORE — One of the enduring pleasures of this city is its annual Artscape extravaganza, a celebration of art and music and funky crafts that draws nearly half a million people into mid-town across three days every summer.

But not this year. Even mad dogs and Englishmen know when it’s time to stay out of this kind of noonday sun.

This year the temperature flirted with three digits all weekend long, and many thousands of people stayed home. Any venture outside felt like wandering through a kind of plague. The heat’s been blast-furnace across most of the east, though the people running the country hope we won’t notice this. They’d rather take a chance placing some existential curse on our grandchildren’s ability to breathe.

The man in the White House says he doesn’t believe in climate change. He believes in mocking the very words. But the people at the National Weather Service believe in science, and they’re now issuing statements that heat waves are longer, and they’re more frequent, and they’re hotter than ever.

They’re using these words as descriptions: “oppressive…dangerous…a silent killer.”

If that doesn’t sound ominous enough – and it does – they’re also informing us that, since the 1960s, the average number of heat waves in 50 American cities has tripled.

In response to such warnings, President Trump walked away from the Paris climate accords and stands by his history of ridiculing the whole premise.

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” he has said. Another time: “Give me clean, beautiful air – not the same old climate change bullshit. I am tired of hearing this nonsense.” And another: “The polar ice caps are at an all-time high, the polar bear population has never been stronger. Where the hell is global warming?”

“A hoax,” he’s called it. If he bothers to mention it at all.

Two weeks ago, according to reporting in “Scientific American,” Trump gave a 45-minute environmental speech and failed to mention climate change at all.

At his side were three Cabinet secretaries overseeing energy and environment issues. Two are former lobbyists for the coal and oil industries. In the audience, it was reported, were lawmakers from energy-rich states and representatives of think tanks that question climate science.

They should have taken a look in the White House basement.

As Scientific American reported, “Hours before Trump spoke, a downpour flooded the streets outside the White House and sent torrents of rainwater into a nearby subway station, causing a portion of the system to temporarily shut down.

“A pool of water formed in the White House basement. That type of intense precipitation is the result of rising temperatures, according to scientists. The Environmental Protection Agency warned that those effects would happen in the District of Columbia in a warmer climate – before the web page carrying that report was buried by the Trump administration.”

Well, they can bury the report, but not the intensity of the weather. It saddened me to miss this year’s Artscape. At my age, the heat was too much. But I remember an Artscape from years ago, one of my favorite moments there.

Rain suddenly erupted. But people were having too good a time to go home. In the downpour, about a dozen teenage kids started to dance. The music had a vaguely Caribbean beat. Then people started coming out of the nearby Mount Royal Tavern and the food tents and crafts booths and the Maryland Institute buildings.

And they joined in the dancing. It was black and white and Asian dancing together, scores of people. Then the rain picked up, and more people joined the dance. One guy was on roller skates. Everybody’s clothes got soaking wet. They were having the time of their lives.

Better get such moments while we can. There’s a hard rain gonna fall, all right. In fact, it’s already started, and nobody’s going to dance their way around this one.

About the author

Michael Olesker

Michael Olesker, columnist for the News American, Baltimore Sun, and Baltimore Examiner has spent a quarter of a century writing about the city he loves.He is the author of five previous books, including Michael Olesker's Baltimore: If You Live Here, You're Home, Journeys to the Heart of Baltimore, and The Colts' Baltimore: A City and Its Love Affair in the 1950s, all published by Johns Hopkins Press. Contact the author.

One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Never been hot in Baltimore before.


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