Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 5, 2013

New records — The AC is still working in Bluefield


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— The National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., says the year 2012 was warm and wet for the greater Bluefield area. But despite a year of extreme weather, Nature’s Air-Conditioned City was still cooler than many of its neighboring municipalities.

Between 1959 and 2012, June 29, 2012, will go down in the record books as the hottest day in modern history for Bluefield with a mercury reading of 97 degrees. That was followed by a 96 degree reading on June 30, 2012, which is now being called the second hottest day on record for Bluefield.

However, these blistering readings were recorded on days when other neighboring cities recorded triple digit readings. For example, it was 104 degrees in Roanoke, Va. on June 29, 2012, and 104 degrees in Danville, Va, on the same date.

With a yearly average maximum daily temperature of 66 degrees, 2012 also is being called the hottest year on record for Bluefield. However, once again, neighboring localities recorded yearly average maximum readings that were significantly higher than those in Nature’s Air-Conditioned City.

Interestingly enough, forecasters say that while it was abnormally hot everywhere else and dry in most locations in 2012, Bluefield ended up with its 12th wettest year on record.

We know 2012 was a year of extremes — from the powerful derecho wind storm to a period of prolonged, sweltering heat. But the AC in Nature’s Air-Conditioned City is still working. After all, we have yet to record an official triple digit reading on the thermometer that really counts — the one at the Mercer County Airport — at least in terms of modern National Weather Service records, which once again date back to 1959 at the Blacksburg, Va. office.

So despite the heat of 2012, Nature’s Air Conditioned City is still chilling. Eddie Steele would be proud. It was Steele, after all, who dreamed up the unique lemonade promotion in 1939 with the ultimate goal of putting Bluefield on a national map.

Initially, Steele, then secretary of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, came up with the idea of offering free rooms at the West Virginian Hotel if the local temperature reached the 90-degree mark. Steele scrapped that idea when an Odd Fellows convention was in town and the promotion proved expensive. Bloodied, but unbroken, Steele then came up with the simple yet brilliant idea of serving free lemonade in the city when the mercury climbed above 90 degrees. At about that same time, Steele authored Bluefield’s time-tested slogan, “Nature’s Air-Conditioned City.”

It may be January, and cold outside, but we can still long for the hot days of summer.

But until the free lemonade is served once again, we can take comfort in knowing that Bluefield is still officially — at least according to the National Weather Service — a cool place to live