Earth Charter — Mayor among four on climate change panel

Pharos Tribune, September 16, 2019
The area around the 300 block of Melbourne Avenue floods regularly during heavy rainstorms, as seen in this July 2018 photo. In the distance on the left is Mike Anderson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, which owns the flooded empty lot. At center is the People’s Winery, with the back of the State Theatre at right.

Just a few hours before a downpour struck Logansport late last week, officials from across the state were learning that increased annual rainfall will be more common in future years.

At the fourth annual Indiana Climate Leadership Summit, officials received a report on data that indicate weather patterns will be changing in the 2050s in the Logansport area.

Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell, who was one of four mayors invited to speak on a panel discussion at the conference, said Logansport is doing its part to reduce global warming by securing a purchased power agreement that switches its primary fuel source from fossil fuels to predominantly renewable energy with plans for local solar fields.

In Cass, Fulton and Pulaski counties, the number of days with temperatures higher than 95 degrees will increase from two to 38 annually. The hottest day of the year is estimated to see an average temp of 106 instead of 95.

The coldest day will be warmer, increasing from -12 to -3 but, according to Kitchell, the major impact will be in rainfall. Although Indiana rainfall totals have been rising for several years, spring rainfall is project to raise 16 percent based on data from Indiana’s Past & Future Climate, compiled by experts at Purdue, Notre Dame, Indiana, Ball State and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.

Kitchell said he’s concerned with projections on increased rainfall impact on the Wabash valley presented at the conference. Flooding in downtown Logansport at the State Theater may be “the canary in the coalmine” warning of more flooding and weather-related events, including flooding.

Conference presentations included one on South Bend, which experienced a record one-day eight-inch rainfall that led to record flooding in that city. A similar event had an impact on Columbus a few years ago.

“We need to be cognizant of what’s happening and the impact on our local infrastructure capacity to deal with more and heavier rains, such as the one we experienced Thursday night,” Kitchell said.

Indiana’s average temperature is projected to increase five to six degrees and annual rainfall is expected to be up eight percent overall. Kitchell was joined on the panel by Angola Mayor Richard Hickman, Nappanee Mayor Phil Jenkins and Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman.

The conference, sponsored by the nonpartisan Earth Charter Indiana, was held at Goshen College.

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