Bill Eggert

This year’s winter has been special in its mildness. New highs and record temperatures have occurred almost on a daily basis.

My friend and fellow columnist George Hancock has frequently written about the weathers here in Johnstown and their effects on the local community. The last 20 years, politicians have caused much consternation in the public with talk of global warming and other such meteorological phenomenon.

Dad always thought that such talk was premature and even foolhardy. I often wondered if there was something to all this talk about global warming. But in the end, I felt that Dad was right and all the talk about global warming was much ado about nothing.

You look back at a lot of things that were said back in the 1990s. Al Gore said the polar ice caps would be melted away by the year 2000. It turns out the ice caps are still intact and there doesn’t appear to be much to worry about. We won’t have to worry about the polar ice caps until many years after we’re all long gone.

It’s not to say that we shouldn’t be good stewards of Mother Earth. During our time here we should.

Remember the stories our parents used to tell us when we were kids about them having to walk through snow several feet deep on their way to school. Remember how we used to laugh at those stories. While there was certainly some truth to them back then and there were some times we did get snow like that.

In the 15 years I have been back in Johnstown, I remember one particular bad snowstorm we had. The snow was about 4 feet deep. The weather of course is unpredictable. Some winters are worse than others. Most times, the reason for the winters is the way the jet stream is runs through the United States.

Many people complain about the weather in Johnstown, and rightfully so. We can get snow any time from Halloween to Easter.

Sometimes our summers are mild; sometimes they are scorching hot. Sometimes it seems like we get no fall at all. We go straight from summer to winter. Spring is another season that seems to get its short shift in Johnstown.

Sometimes it seems like we are cursed with a monsoon season here in Johnstown. Johnstown is known for its three floods. Those floods were caused as much by the topography of the area as the rain.

I will say one thing about Johnstown, though. Rarely do we have to worry about earthquakes or tornados. We don’t live in Tornado Alley, like the poor people in the Midwest. We don’t have to worry about Pennsylvania sliding into the Pacific Ocean like the people in California do with the San Andreas Fault Line.

Dad kept a daily record of the high and low temperatures. Our family could not figure out why Dad was interested in the temperature. He never explained it to us.

I think that Dad was keeping a record to see if the temperatures were getting warmer each year.

There isn’t any secret to the weather, it is just to enjoy it on a daily basis whatever the weather is, whether it is stifling hot or frigid cold. With all the money spent, billions of dollars on weather, it is still challenging to predict how the weather is going to turn out – even though we are starting to get to a point where we can predict it with 100% accuracy.

During my time in convalescence, I’ve become a regular viewer of the Weather Channel. When I was a kid, I never dreamed there would be a channel devoted expressly to weather, past and present. Coupled with the new technology they have in graphics, plus the million-dollar satellites we have in space circling earth you can find out what the weather is like at any point in the world.

One of the comic books I used to read as a kid was called The Flash. He had an impressive rogues gallery, much like Batman. One of the most interesting villains was called the Weather Wizard. He was a guy with a green costume and mask who was able to control the weather. I always thought he was potentially the most powerful villain of not only Flash but anybody else as well due to his ability to control the weather.

One Flash story involved him and the Weather Wizard who had isolated a small mountain town with a blizzard. The roads were impassable.

Sometimes I wonder if in the not too distant future science will become so advanced that we will be able to control the weather.

It will probably never happen in our lifetimes. In the meantime, the best we can do is enjoy the weather we do

Bill Eggert is a Johnstown resident and regular community columnist for The Tribune-Democrat.​ He can be reached at

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