I remember as a little girl growing up in Kansas darting over to my grandma's during bad thunderstorms. At that young age, it wasn't so much a fear of thunderstorms as it was a safety precaution. We lived on the top floor of a 3 story complex, grandma lived on the bottom floor across the street in another building in the same complex. She had an interior closet that had no windows, not a single outside wall, and plenty of space. If all else failed, we also had her bathroom that was also completely interior. We would usually sit in her living room and watch the storms however, and I never once recall having to run and take shelter in the closet or bathroom. But 1991 changed our comfort zone. It was the first time I saw a tornado, and while it was a good distance away and I knew we were safe, watching the news that night and seeing how much damage that tornado did along its path (it was the same tornado that tore apart McConnell AFB and Andover), I suddenly realized why I heard the term "tornado alley" in reference to the area I lived in. That night as the storms continued to pass, there were some real good lightning shows - if that's what you're into - and a loud, low, vibrating rumble of thunder that made both my Grandma and I jump through our skins and nearly hit the ceiling I think LOL.
Grandma died less than two years later, and as the family splintered apart, Mom and I devised our own safety plans based on how much warning we had. We never had to put them into effect though as after 1993 the weather calmed down a bit. 1999 was different. Not only was it the year that the tornado that changed my life ripped through my hometown, it wasn't just one isolated tornado. There were a couple times that year we had to run for shelter. By this time, we had transportation as I had my driver's license and my car at the time, but trying to drive away from a tornado isn't much smarter than trying to run away from it. It was 1999 that changed my life, changed the way I watch the sky, and changed the way I judge meteorologists.
So tonight as a thunderstorm that is SUPPOSEDLY severe passes by with just a brief heavy downpour and average thunder and lightning, my mind turns back to all the people who live where I grew up. This year has been disastrous for them, both in the record number of tornadoes and the lives lost because of them. The rains haven't stopped in the region either, as Iowa is in danger of becoming one massive lake. There are levees about to breach along the mighty Mississippi, and even large cities such as Des Moines are about to drown in record flood water levels.
I can't imagine what it's like to live through a flood. We had one here a couple years back, but the creek fell as quick as it rose, and it never made it into the apartment - though it sure came close. I can't imagine having so much water that cars are completely submerged, entire houses either underwater or floating away, and entire towns under water. We all will be paying for this severe weather season, both in food prices as a MAJORITY of our corn and soybean come from Iowa and other Midwest states (though Kansas' wheat harvest looks excellent so far) and higher insurance and possibly taxes as corporations and government entities try to recoup some of their financial losses. The greatest costs though are to the survivors who have lost everything - unfortunately sometimes including family members. Children are grieving the loss of parents and pets, parents are grieving the loss of children and other relatives, and the area tries to make sense of what has happened to them. If this is global warming I'll eat my shirt. If we were really "warming", wouldn't we be getting drier? Instead, a lot of the country is in jeopardy of becoming lakes! Maybe it's the "la nina" effect - whatever that's supposed to REALLY mean. The truth of the matter is that our planet is still young when you really think about it. She's still rumbling, changing with the shifts in her crust. There will be changes to come, as our existence here is a mere blink of an eye in our planet's history.
I'm not suggesting by any means we shouldn't do what we can to help nature out. I'm merely saying we're not even majorly to blame for all this. If you go with the Biblical view, it's a sign of the end times. If you just go scientifically, it's just Mother Earth shifting, changing, and adjusting to us humans. We should recycle and reuse as much as we can - what's the use of throwing away that can of soda if we can reuse it in something else? But give me a break, I'm not willing to pay $5 for a loaf of bread so some idiot can make a load of dough on selling ethanol made from corn that some scientists are saying pollutes the environment MORE than our current gasoline does!
So anyway, off I go to relax and try to enjoy a storm - if that is indeed even POSSIBLE for me. I hope all of you are well, and look forward to seeing you soon out there in the blog world. All my hugs to you, my friends. Cheryl, Walter, Katy (wherever you are), Shella, JIP, Andrew, Tom, and the rest of you, be well in your lives, may peace find its way to your heart, and God's shield of safety and security always protect you.