The great drought of 1983 forced an Iowa bank to shut down and devastated a farm town Wednesday. More Midwest counties lined up for federal disaster assistance.
But the cool, soothing hand of autumn rested on practically all of the nation but inland California, where the temperature got to 101 by mid-afternoon in Fresno and to 100 in Sacramento and Bakersfield.
Coastal areas were cooling off. The smoggy 95 at Los Angeles Tuesday gave way to a mere 75 by mid-afternoon Wednesday. San Francisco, which suffered in 100 degrees a few days ago, enjoyed an 82-degree respite.
The Exchange Bank of Bloomfield, Iowa, posted a notice it was closing Tuesday night. State Banking Superintendent Tom Huston said the drought which has ravaged Iowa's corn fields this summer 'had to be a big reason' for the insolvency.
The bank is privately owned and uninsured. Four to five thousand depositors were locked out without assurance they could get their money back.
Local businesses would not cash checks Wednesday, school children had to get their lunches on credit, and townspeople walked about 'with dazed expressions on their faces.'
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad sent word to Agriculture Secretary John Block that 13 more counties are in urgent need of federal disaster aid. Block had already listed 21 counties as disaster areas and other Midwest governors have taken similar action.
But for the time being, the torrid summer was just a bitterly remembered headache.
An autumnal cool front spread all the way from the Rockies to the Atlantic Coast. It was below freezing in the Upper Great Lakes region, 31 degrees in the Minnesota cities of Hibbing, Warroad and International Falls. Morning temperatures were in the 40s into New England.
The cool mass pushed thunderstorms through southeastern states. At Lantana, Fla., a golfer was diagnosed as clinically dead after taking a lightning bolt that melted his nylon socks. But paramedics revived him after 40 minutes.
A South Carolina farm bureau spokesmen said the rains could be the salvation of soybean crops, but state agriculture officials feared they had come too late and losses would run to $300 million.
The Agriculture Department in Washington said the national corn and soybean suupplies available before next year's harvest would drop to the lowest levels since 1977. Assistant Agriculture Secretary William Lesher said, 'You're looking at the lower end of the acceptable range.'