The Great Heat Wave of 2012
In my Nearing Midnight update for April 16, I wrote about the incredibly warm March we had just experienced. Few people were complaining about a winter month that was 8.6 degrees above the average. Now that summer is here and we are experiencing the same pattern of record warmth, people are starting to press the panic button.
For the past few weeks, the central part of the U.S. has been under a massive dome of high pressure that has produced stunning records for heat. So far this month, over 4,500 record high temperatures have been matched or broken. Many all-time highs were set in late June, and the average temperature doesn't top out until the 21st of this month.
Here in Benton, Arkansas, we set the all-time record for June twice. On June 25, the high reached 105 degrees. Three days later, we set a new record of 107 degrees. Our temps were relatively mild compared to some areas in Kansas. Hill City, Kansas, hit 115 two days in a row, which was an all-time high. A few days later, Norton Dam, Kansas, hit 118, briefly making it the hottest location on planet earth.
The heat wave took on an apocalyptic nature when it helped produce a powerful straight-line wind storm called a "derecho" that swept over an area from Indiana to the Maryland coast. A derecho is the result of rain-chilled air rushing out ahead of thunderstorms. Since the areas impacted by the June 29 derecho were still in the upper 80s or 90s, the extreme temperature difference amplified the wind velocity. At one point, over 5 million people were without power. Hurricane Andrew only left 3 million people in the dark.
The Great Heat Wave of 2012 is having a profoundly negative impact on the nation's breadbasket. Corn is the most important grain because it goes into 75 percent of all food products. Over the past month, corn futures have shot up from $5.50 per bushel to over $7.50 per bushel on the spot market. Economists are already predicting a rise in food prices of 4 percent over the next year.
The Department of Agriculture says that 22 percent of all U.S. corn fields are in poor condition, and that number could rise significantly with corn currently undergoing its critical pollination phase. Some analysts have lowered their yield estimates to an average of about 140 bushels per acre. That compares with the Ag Department’s June estimate of 166 bushels per acre.
A relentless spate of bad luck has caused U.S. corn supplies to decline to levels not seen in nearly two decades. Bloomberg News reports that stockpiles were probably 3.168 billion bushels (80.47 million metric tons) on June 1, 47 percent less than on March 1. Last year, the problem was massive flooding on the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi River deltas, and this year it's too little rain.
I remember in the 1980s, in my home state of Iowa, there was such a bumper crop of corn that it was common to see the yellow kernels piled up on the ground in massive hills because of the lack of room in storage facilities. Those days of overabundance have been replaced by the possibility of future shortages.
I do believe God has slowly lifted His blessing from this nation. We are suffering from a deluge that cannot be explained by CO2-induced global warming. The year is only half over, but we are almost assured of having a record year for heat. The climate models call for a slow rise of 2.5 degrees over 100 years. At this rate, we would all be baked alive if the trend were to continue for just a couple of decades.
A more likely reason we are experiencing an unending chain of calamities is our potential proximity to the Tribulation hour. As we get closer to this seven-year period of judgment, the earth will look all the more like the pictures painted by prophecy. One of the images the Bible gives us is one of a day when a day's wage will equal a loaf of bread.
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny” (Revelation 6:5-6).