The Winds from Hell

Like most of you, I awoke this morning to the news of those latest devastating tornadoes that struck Joplin, Missouri yesterday. On the heels of the previous destruction in Alabama and other parts of the southeastern and eastern United States from these winds of hell, it’s hard not believe that something is seriously wrong with our weather here in the second decade of the 21st century. Unfortunately the apparent reality of global warming has been too caught up in the vortex of our usually polarized arguments between liberals and conservatives to be seriously addressed as a matter of our responsibility for doing the right thing.

Too many people are too worried about casting or taking the blame here for us to have any kind of constructive dialogue on what, if anything,  we might be able to do about our own energy use to ease the patterns of weather that are forming these violent storms. Like most of you, again, I am no meteorologist, climatologist, energy mogul, or politician. I just sense that we are ignoring some things these days because the weight of special interest politics again stands in the way of correct action.

As a result, add 89 people, at least, from Joplin to the list of Americans who have now lost their lives to this apparently unstoppable (by present standards) juggernaut of death from “natural” disaster in 2011. Maybe there isn’t anything we can do about it, but I sure think we need to open the door on what we might do to help ease the situation. As it is, our enemies don’t even need planes, bombs, and missiles. All they have to do is wait long enough for us to have our next stretch of bad weather. Then they may simply watch whole American towns and cities fall hard to the wrath of Mother Nature.

"I tried to tell him about the storm, but I couldn't find the words!" - Babe

I’ll never forget my own closest call with an apparently small tornado. It happened here in Houston back in 1979, I think. I was living in a little town home on Briar Forest near Dairy Ashford back then. I had just moved in there with with my one-year old English Bulldog, Babe.

Due to the move, Babe was having trouble with my absence during the day. I was working a pretty heavy schedule back then, but that mattered not to my sweet Babe. Because she had chewed off one window sill staring out the window watching for me to return, in momentary desperation, I tied her to a leash that I fastened to the locked-inside area near the front door with a bowl of water when I left for work the net day. It was only for the day. I knew that I would need a better solution.

It turned out to be a move that led to my first clue about an awesome close call with a potentially killer wind that came by our house before I got home. Driving home, I heard on the radio about a tornado that had touched down somewhere in my area and then jumped over Dairy Ashford and destroyed several homes near the Briar Forest intersection.

A feeling of ill-ease came over me. “That’s too close for comfort,” I thought.

Turns out it was closer than close. Driving into my cul de sac neighborhood, my house was always first visible from the rear on the corner. “Holy crap!” fell easily from my lips as I drove up to see my entire back fence laying scattered in the yard and the street. I quickly parked in the garage and  called out, “BABE!”

There was no answer.

I walked through the kitchen into the living room. There was Babe, still tied to the inside knob of the front door. She turned and gave me a mellow bark hello as she remained seated facing the sunlight out front.

Sunlight out front?

Yes! The tornado apparently had pushed in the lock, opened the door, pushed it open, and then, rather go through my house, it simply knocked down my front side fence, jumped over my house, knocked down all of the back fence, and then jumped over Dairy Ashford on its way to wiping out several houses.

When it all sank in, I simply dropped to the floor and started hugging Babe. I got a lot of gooey kisses for that move. She wouldn’t tell me what happen, but she had a look on her face that pretty much told me what I heard her trying to communicate:

“Daddy, you had to be here to believe it!”

I just hope that some people in Joplin were as lucky as Babe and I were that crazy day in Houston back in 1979.

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3 Responses to “The Winds from Hell”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    The mistake is in believing that anything man does is changing the weather. What did the Japanese do to cause the earthquake and tsunami? What did the folks in Tuscaloosa do to unleash a devastating tornado?

    Better construction and better preparedness are the only things at our disposal to reduce the death and destruction from severe weather. But there are no guarantees.

    If man is to blame for our natural disasters, could it also be possible that tinkering with our climate through global warming initiatives could be harming the planet rather than helping it? After all, for every action, there is a reaction. And one thing that is clear to me is that all the Global Warming hoaxers don’t know a damned thing they are talking about yet they want everyone to change their lifestyles based on faulty premises and Chicken Little reactionism.

    My new apartment home came with a CFL light next to the front door to save energy (and attract insects). I chose to take it one step further. I yanked out the bulb altogether. Less energy. Less insects I have to swat. My bit to “save the planet”.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “After all, for every action, there is a reaction.”

      Yes, and the same law applies to inaction. I simply don’t see any course of action or inaction that isn’t presently driven or throttled more today by politically polar persuasion over science. The all-out people blamers may be full of it, but so are the true flat-earth thinkers who contend without proof either that it’s all a hoax that our use of certain chemicals is having any effect upon the environment.

      It’s not the casualty spot we should be looking to for the purpose of assigning blame. In fact blaming the people of Alabama and Japan for their recent disasters would be tantamount to ignorance.The question here is neither about earthquakes, but about climatic conditions affecting the outbreak of disaster. The Japan disaster had nothing to do with wind.

      There is no question the earth is warming. All we have to do is look at the increase in average temperatures around the globe to see that fact unfolding. The question is: Is global warming simply part of a natural cycle that we are in for the moment – or is it the result of, or worsened by, our growing heavy use of hydrocarbons and the release of certain chemicals into the atmosphere?

      If the science says there’s no harm in these things, then I say, “Smoke ’em, if you got ’em, baby! Just keep ’em cheap enough for purchase by us little guys.”

      All I know from personal experience is very little: (1) When I was a kid, the big tornado that blew through Waco in 1950 was pretty awful, but pretty isolated. Today it would have just been one of many in that recent assault upon Alabama and other parts of the South. (2) I smoked for fifty years. I’m lucky to have gotten the chance to quit for good five years ago and I feel a lot better today because of it. But … maybe the earth’s atmosphere is far different from my poor beat up lungs. (3) Maybe the earth’s atmosphere can handle that increasing bombardment of chemical assaults with no problem. It just didn’t work that way for me, but what do I know? (3) All I know is that we live in a world where egos, power, and politics most often seem to override common sense. We probably could find answers to a lot of our serious world problems, but that would require people to work together and give credit where credit was due – and that’s not likely to happen, (4) I don’t think storms are man-made. I simply regret that there’s no way open for us to undergo a scientific study and then take responsibility for an examination of the question of human influence on environment because of the politics involved.

      Call me naive. I guess I am, but I still hold this statement to be true:

      Without proof, it is not enough to simply “believe” in the need for change – and it is also not enough to “believe” in the equally mindless defense of the status quo.

  2. Bill Gilbert Says:

    If mankind can really influence and control weather and the climate as the global warming crowd would have us believe, why don’t they do something about tornados instead of worrying about trace quantities of carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless gas in the atmosphere.

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