From dry to wet in a climate of fret

Local flooding like this July 1 scene at the intersection of Gadsden and Bennett Streets could become more common if sea levels, as experts predict, keep rising.

As if recent relentless bad news weren’t scary enough ...

From a July 7 update by science writer Jim Melvin on the Clemson University Newsstand website:

“Just when things were looking promising for farmers in most areas of the state, another dry and wicked heat wave has a hold on South Carolina and is starting to squeeze the life out of crops.”

So maybe the rain over the last few days is encouraging.

Or maybe not.

More from that Clemson Newsstand dispatch:

“In 2015, a sledgehammer of heat and drought followed by a deluge of record rainfall devastated thousands of acres of crops and left many of the state’s farmers with shattered hopes and empty wallets. Entering 2016, growers had tough decisions to make, often working with limited budgets in an attempt to rebound from the previous year’s calamities. So the timing of this latest event has the potential to be yet another punch to the gut.”

This dire development plants more seeds of angst in our agriculture-reliant state.

And the sad state of my scorched-earth tomato plants helps me feel the farmers’ pain.

More elevating dread on the nature-strikes-back theme, in a release issued last week by a popular local tourist attraction:

“Sea level rise, storm surge and changing ocean conditions caused by climate change are being experienced firsthand in the Lowcountry, and the South Carolina Aquarium is introducing a new initiative to provide citizens and communities with the facts about the foremost environmental issue facing our generation. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the 1970s Charleston experienced just two days of tidal flooding per year, but by 2045 the city is predicted to see 180 days, or half the year, of flooding annually.”

What does that portend for the Sergeant Jasper property near the Ashley River?

What about damage lately done to our kind by alligators, sharks, mountain lions, mosquitoes and other ornery critters?

Meanwhile, many Americans are understandably unnerved by our political devolution into an unnatural selection of 2016 presidential nominees.

And how can we extend the dwindling time gaps between raising flags back up from mourning-level half-staff to having to lower them again?

1) Politico Caucus “insiders” named Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine on Saturday as the best vice-presidential option for Hillary Clinton. Now you name the first post-Civil War major-party VP nominee from the former Confederate states.

2) Name the first post-Civil War major-party presidential nominee from the former Confederate states.

3) Name the only post-Civil War major-party ticket with both members from ex-Confederate states.

4) Name the only post-Civil War Republican presidential and VP nominees from ex-Confederate states.

5) Name who wrote: “Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes.”

1) Arkansas Sen. Joseph T. Robinson was the VP nominee on the 1928 Democratic ticket led by New York Gov. Al Smith. They won only eight states (including Arkansas and S.C.) to the 40 carried by the GOP’s Herbert Hoover-Charles Curtis ticket.

2) Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas led the 1964 Democratic LBJ-HHH (Hubert Horatio Humphrey) ticket that trounced the GOP’s Barry Goldwater-William Miller duo, which won S.C. and just five other states. Johnson, as the second fiddle on the 1960 JFK-LBJ ticket that carried S.C., was also the first winning post-Civil War VP nominee from the former Confederate states.

3) The Democrats won in 1992 and ’96 (but not South Carolina) with the Bill Clinton (Arkansas)-Al Gore (Tennessee) ticket.

4) George H.W. Bush of Texas was Ronald Reagan’s running mate on winning Republican tickets in 1980 and ’84. He also was the presidential nominee in ’88 (he won) and ’92 (he lost). George W. Bush of Texas won as the presidential nominee (with running mate Dick “Big Time” Cheney) in 2000 and ’04. OK, so H.W. was born in Massachusetts and W. was born in Connecticut. But they both ran as Texans — and went 6-for-6 on national tickets in South Carolina

5) John Steinbeck wrote that in the first chapter of “The Grapes of Wrath,” his 1939 novel about the mass westward migration from Dust Bowl desolation.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.