Logansport mayor among four on climate change panel

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GOSHEN — Just a few hours before a deluge struck Logansport Thursday, 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.

In Cass, Fulton and Pulaski counties, the number of days with temperatures higher than 95 degrees will increase from two to 38 annually, with the hottest day of the year averaging a temp of 106 instead of 95. The coldest day will be warmer, increasing from -12 to -3, but 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.

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.

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,” the mayor said today.

Indiana’s average temperature is project to increase 5 to 6 degrees and annual rainfall is expected to be up 8 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.

SOURCE: News release from the Office of Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell