Monday, May 9, 2016

Spring Time

Eye of Hurricane Katrina 
Spring is in the air here in Indiana. That usually means warmer weather, rain showers, and sometimes, severe storms. As I’m writing this post, to schedule it for publication at a later date, I’ve been keeping a wary eye on our weather. For more than a week now, our local weather folks have been saying that Tuesday and Wednesday could be really ugly and nasty. I have a feeling it’s going to be really bad because even though we’re still 48 hours out from the projected bad weather and the sky is fairly clear with just a few, cottony-puffy clouds, my collie Snape is already restless and grumpy. (Yes, I have a collie named for the Harry Potter character.) As brave as the fictional character was is exactly how cowardly my Snape is when it comes to thunderstorms. He’s actually better at predicting bad weather than NOAA and I trust him more. Last summer, Snape was 100% accurate on bad storms and NOAA was only about 40% on target.

Severe storms fascinate me. Scare me to death, but fascinate me. My son is always sending me links during hurricane season if a “big one” is going to make landfall with the question “Are we going to this one?” It’s on my bucket list to ride out a Cat 5 hurricane. Not on the coast (I’m not THAT stupid) but maybe an hour or so inland, well out of the flooding zone.

Tornado in eastern Wyoming
Also on my bucket list is to go storm chasing one spring. I have no intention of doing that on my own, armed only with a wi-fi hotspot and the weather forecasts. Too easy to make a mistake and end up in the bear cage and dead as happened to several scientists a couple of years ago when they were out researching tornados…but, I would love to go with a professional outfit that storm chases every spring. Even my son—yes, the one who wants to ride out a Cat 5 with me—thinks I’m crazy for wanting to do this, because as he’s pointed out, I’ve survived two tornados. The first one was a very tiny funnel cloud (wasn’t technically a tornado because it never touched down) which passed over our house, topped out a large, stately evergreen on the east side of our property and merrily made its not so destructive way to the north-east for about half a mile before it dissipated. The second tornado was while I was at the Collie Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My thought at the time when I read we were going to be in Tulsa in April was “We’re going to be in the heart of tornado alley at the height of tornado season. What could possibly go wrong?” That one passed over the building the dog show was being held in while most of us were huddled in the basement restrooms, trying to keep calm and avoid frightening the young children. (In case you’re wondering—yes, dog show people are crazy!)

Tornado near Wheatland, WY
Perhaps the reason I want to do these things is the power of “Mother Nature” helps me put things into perspective. We can rail all we want, scream about the weather—but we can’t change it. (For the record, I’m not a believer in manmade global warming/climate change. I don’t believe the science is settled. Any scientist worth his/her salt will state science is never settled. It’s an ever evolving process. Even the theory of relativity is still just a theory, though we’ve proven repeatedly that E does equal mc squared.) It’s that raw fury, that sizzle of lightning, the harsh crack of thunder, the strength of the wind which all remind me of Nature’s power. And, it is awesome and awe inspiring.

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