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Weather willies...

April 17, 2012

   I don't know about you, but Mother Nature has my respect. Over the weekend, we had several significant Mother Nature incidents to remember or recall.
   First, there was the 2nd-time ever, more-than-24-hour advance warning from the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. of a possible "high-end, life-threatening event." I understand that I live in Nebraska...I grew up here. My mother was deathly afraid of tornadoes and I remember huddling in a basement closet as a child.
   Later, as a teenager, I developed a curiousity about tornadoes. I recall standing outside of the storm shelter at a church camp (unfortunately, more than once...more like once a year) and watching the clouds. One particular time, the clouds were greenish-gray and swirling. I ran down to check cabins and send the remaining kids to the shelter. I remember the eery feeling when EVERYTHING went silent and nothing moved...except for me. I took off at a dead run for that storm shelter!
   My curiousity to see tornadoes has diminished as a parent. With one child, I watched the weather closely and planned how to get her to the basement if a storm hit. With 2 children, I do the same. This weekend was a little tricky, since my spouse was gone. My planning included packing a tornado kit and hauling coats and blankets to the basement. After the kids were in bed, I monitored the weather online and via radio. I tossed around which kid to grab first...and settled on my son. He's smaller, so I could run easier with him to get his sister. Plus, he's in a crib, so it's a little trickier than snagging her out of a toddler bed.
   I know I'm not the only obsessive parent who thinks about these things...but I'm probably the only one who admits it publically online!
   The other weekend event to which I referred is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I'm one of the few women who doesn't go ga-ga over the movie, but I am fascinated by the incident. As a friend stated, calling a ship "unsinkable" is simply tempting fate. Sometimes, we, as humans, do/build/create something so incredible that we forget there are bigger/better/stronger forces out there.
   Mother Nature is one of those forces. I'm not saying She went after the Titanic, but I am saying there were some mistakes - human errors - that had a part in the destruction of a beautiful ship and the deaths of thousands.
   The first and primary mistake was believing we could out-do Mother Nature. However, with all our technology and research, there are still holes in what we know. I thought science knew how tornadoes formed, but as I read up on them this weekend, I realized there's a lot we don't know about tornadoes. Lots of times, when conditions are perfect for tornadoes, nothing happens...and other times, things appear out of nowhere. Like an iceberg!
   The National Weather Service realizes we are "slack" in our storm preparations. They are changing the way they word warnings...hopefully, we don't get used to that too.
   Remember, Mother Nature has many tricks up Her sleeve that we don't know about...from volcanoes to the deep sea, freezing weather to tornadoes and earthquakes. There are still many mysteries on Earth that demand our respect.

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