Thursday, August 25, 2011

Natural Disasters

I'm watching the Weather Channel's coverage of the approach of Irene. It's certainly not going to affect us here in the midwest but I have lots of postcard pen pals on the east coast and I'm concerned for their safety.

I have readers in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Maine. One of the forecast maps shows the hurricane making it's way up the coast all the way to Maine!

Mother nature can sure cause calamity! My friend in California assures me that thunderstorms are a rarity in Southern California. I don't think I could survive without a good thunderstorm every so often.

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The thunder and lightning are energetic and exciting, as long as the lightning doesn't hit my house.

On one of my trips to Baltimore the remnants of a hurricane rolled into the area and sat, literally SAT on the place for days. It was a constant rain the like of which I'd never experienced. It wasn't a deluge but constant, constant, constant for days. My friend took us shopping in a little town called Ellicott City which itself was something totally new to me. The shops were very old and built into the side of a huge rock face. The back sides of the shops were literally rock walls. Amazing.

On the other side of the street was a stream flowing downhill, UNDER the shops! That was scary to me. Inside one of the shops we could hear water rushing. I certainly didn't feel safe. The raging stream continued to flow downhill into a river at the bottom of the hill. A quick look revealed all kind of things had washed downstream, including a full sized refrigerator!

I haven't survived a flood and have no desire to. Moving water is one of the most dangerous forces on the planet. Water will have it's way!

My poor friends on the east coast, the same ones that are waiting for the hurricane to arrive, just experienced an earthquake. Yahoo News ran an article that explained the difference between a 5.8 earthquake on the east coast as compared to the same size quake in California, something about the crust and frequencies.


All I know is that the quake we experienced here in Illinois a year-and-a-half ago was not the undulating wave type. It was the BAM - SLAM - knock you out of bed type. The kind that makes you believe that a snow plow has hit the house. That was not an experience I'd like to repeat. The feeling was seriously creepy. I was creeped out for days.

Wildfires and firestorms do not occur around here. Yet another natural disaster I have no desire to experience.

Tornados? Now there's something I know having been in four of them, three here in Illinois and one in San Antonio, Texas. The Texas tornado left me screaming at my co-workers who didn't have much experience with twisters. The weather turned dangerous. The severity, speed and color of the clouds told me what was coming. My co-workers were fascinated and ran to the large plate glass windows. Picture me screaming at the top of my lungs for them to run into the interior rooms as quickly as they could. Huge Air Force transport planes were flipped over like toys on that day.

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Clouds roll in over the fields.

But the take-the-cake tornado was the one that the Farmer and I drove inside. Yep, being the adventurous fools that we are and actually not even realizing that a twister had touched down (rain wrapped tornado, late a night) we drove in the outside swirling edge, driving with the storm as it moved parallel to the highway. It was WILD!

I don't remember being afraid because I wasn't aware we were in a tornado. I just remember saying to the Farmer, "This is the WORST thunderstorm I've ever seen!"

Now, there's an understatement. The lighning was crazy. It was like we were in some type of wild nightclub with strobe lights going off in each direction. The Farmer crept along at 5 mph as I guided him along by keeping my eye on the white fog line on the edge of the road. Lightning struck and transformer just as we passed and the entire thing blew up in a shower of fire and sparks.

I think I'm done with tornados.

My thoughts are with those of you on the east coast. Be like a Boy Scout, be prepared, get outta Dodge and stay safe.

I'd love to hear your stories of natural disasters. I think we've all lived through one or two.


Vee said...

Tornadoes frighten me the most. I've experienced that a couple of times. The eerie green sky and the wild winds that blow people off their feet and rain that comes in sideways. Have survived a blizzard or two and a hurricane or two. I'm not listening too much to the weather frogs knowing how wrong they often are. I'm praying that Irene will veer off and head out to sea or be so seriously weakened that she won't be much of an impact. We'll take all the flowers and furniture we can into the garage on Saturday and then just hunker down. I may even remove the plates from my new fence. The marinas nearby have pulled all the boats from the harbors as of last night, so they are definitely taking it seriously. Now why do I find it amusing and amazing that you and your beloved rode out a tornado inside the tornado? Ha! You two are crazy even if you didn't realize quite what was going on.

jeanne said...

God morning Suzanne, It has been an age sine I have visited you. Time is a factor with me always. I agree about natural disasters. I don't want to be near one. Your wild tornado ride was wild. We have seen the lightening you described hen a tornado hit within a quarter of a mile from us. 43 died in that one. That was in Kissimmee, Fl in the late 1990's. Awful.

Just a happy hello this morning. Happy because I am enjoying some rare time on my computer. I hope all is well with you and yours.
Hugs, Jeanne

Stubblejumpin' Gal said...

Gorgeous photos! Did you take them?

Tess said...

I am terrified of wildfire, especially given the current drought situation we find ourselves. Mother nature sure is something.


Lisa D. said...

Forest fires are a common occurence up here. Thankfully none too close, though. The closest to us were this summer. Slave Lake, the northern Alberta town that lost many homes to forest fire this summer (the fires around the town turned very, very suddenly and left little time for evacuation, and no lives were lost, but I think it was about 300 homes burned) is just 4 hours from here. Other towns closer to us were also in danger and were evacuated to our town.
Flooding can happen, but it's not a yearly threat like other parts of Canada. But all the rain this summer caused more flooding than usual. Some of that flooding was in Slave Lake. So if your home survived the fire in May, come July you had to worry about flooded basements. Our town is on a major river and had a serious flood before we moved up here. Most flooding on this river are due to spring ice jams.
Tornadoes have occurred and done some major damage, but they are not a typical threat. Apparently earthquakes have happened to, but very mild.

Therapist San Francisco said...

I live on the west coast now so I don't deal with this stuff as much but I grew up in the midwest and I will never forget how terrifying the sky can be... As equally terrifying as the ocean can be, certainly.

Mamacat said...

In the mountains of west, wildfires are one our major dangers of the summer/fall seasons. Firefighters are still mopping up after 4,000 acres of old junipers and pinion pines burned all because of carelessness - someone failed to extinguish an illegal campfire properly.

On a different note, I found your blog via "A Haven for Vee" (both bookmarked now!). She had a picture of the fabulous crocheted coasters you sent to her. Is there a pattern source, or can/will you post the pattern? What kind of yarn did you use? So cute and happy!