There is a natural tendency for people to base their expectations of weather and climate on what they have seen in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, a few decades is not enough time to see the extreme variety of weather which can occur over a longer period of time. Few people today remember the heat waves and dust of the 1930s drought. No one today remembers the cold years of the 1880s. So when weather extremes occur, it seems as if the impossible is happening.

We watch a river go up and down then we are surprised when it goes higher than we have seen before. We go through a few cool summers and then are shocked by a summer heat wave. We endure a few snowy winters and then wonder why a winter produces very little snow. The lesson here is to not be surprised by weather that seems unusual. Unusual weather is not new; it is just less common.

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