As you may have heard, a majority of the American West has been experiencing drought conditions for several years, and wildfires have been a horrific reality as well. Here in Southern Oregon, this spring has been very dry, and we had a few 100-plus-degree days as early as May, which was extremely unusual. Reservoirs are at historic lows; and farmers, orchardists and ranchers are being told irrigation water may be cut off as early as August. The weather weighs on everyone’s mind these days, and we watch weather forecasts for any signs of rain.
Just over a week ago, the weather service indicated thunderstorms were possible and might provide a good amount of rain. Dry lightning storms make everyone nervous, as they can lead to those wildfires that bring so much death and destruction. We were in the midst of a stretch of hot weather, with highs in the upper 90s and low 100s, and the morning dawned without a cloud in the sky. By 3 p.m., with the temperature hitting 95 degrees, the clouds were building up and looking ominous while the wind also picked up. I scurried to lower our large patio umbrella and move the chairs under cover as a few large raindrops splashed onto the hot pavement.
A few minutes later, I retreated indoors and hoped we’d get some measurable rain, as too often we’d only be teased with a brief, light shower before the clouds moved off. I began to hear what sounded like baseballs hitting the siding and roof and wondered if the wind was tossing something around. I was shocked to look out and see immense hailstones bouncing off the ground.
Now, I realize Midwesterners regularly see much larger hailstones, but I’d never seen anything like this in Oregon. The ones pictured here were picked up a good hour after the storm had passed through.
The worst of the hail was over in about 10 minutes, but the rain, lightning and wind continued for at least half an hour. In that time the temperature dropped about 20 degrees, and we got almost half an inch of rain — such a blessing! As I inspected my yard and garden afterwards, the damage the storm wrought was everywhere.
The hail knocked foliage off of trees, shrubs and potted plants, sometimes partly denuding smaller, more tender plants. The large leaves of a zucchini plant were pocked with large holes and tattered by the ice, and piles of drifted hailstones remained on the ground even into the next morning. Where the icy slurry lasted for long, I realized later that it had frozen and killed the foliage underneath it. All in all it was a rather exciting demonstration of the power of Mother Nature that, while causing some damage, also brought welcome moisture.
Then, less than a week later, we were baking under a “heat dome” which brought all-time record high temperatures to cities all over the states of Oregon and Washington and into British Columbia. We reached 115 degrees when average highs are in the mid-80s . . . and it wasn’t even July, yet! The temperatures have come down to “just” the low 100s, but everyone is concerned what the rest of the summer might bring. That is the main reason many communities have banned the sale of fireworks as we enter the Fourth of July weekend, and some have also canceled their large professional displays. No one wants to repeat the events of last year even as we’ve seen smoke drift into our valley this week from large fires burning across the border in California.
I feel we’ve been a bit whiplashed these past few weeks with our weather, experiencing the extremes of fire and ice in such a short timespan. I would welcome a little less drama for the next few months and a lot more rain, but at this point I’ll just settle for safe July 4th celebrations and no major wildfires here this year.
Wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July!
— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor
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I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.