President Bush visited Enterprise, Alabama on Saturday to personally reassure the residents there that the federal government would be working with local and state officials to help rebuild the town. Thursday, an F4 tornado struck Enterprise, Al and took the lives of almost two dozen people. The death toll included several high school students that were taking cover in a school hallway when one side of the building collapsed on top of them. Tornadoes are a bad thing that most people in the southern and central parts of the country learn to live with during the spring and early summer months of the year. While most tornadoes strike in the spring, over the years I have noticed some tornadoes occurring even during the winter months. One such even happened in November of 2005 when Indiana was stuck by a major tornado. Not only is it unusual for a tornado to strike Indiana, but for that event to take place in the wintertime is even stranger. In my opinion, global warming is at least partially responsible for changing weather patterns that cause tornadoes to form in unusual locations and outside their normal time of the year. In recent years, it has become common place for tornadoes to strike in northern states even when the ground is covered with snowfall.
Like most people, I enjoy the springtime more than any other season of the year. In the southern part of the United States, spring starts around mid-February instead of late March. Here in Waco, Texas the past few weeks have been warm, but unusually windy. In May of 2006 an F2 tornado touched down inside the city limits of Waco and caused a great deal of damage to several businesses. My home is only one mile away from where that tornado touched down and I still remember how scary the weather was that night, especially when our electricity went off and our portable radio was our only link to weather information. While growing up in the Texas panhandle in the middle of “tornado alley”, mom and dad taught my sister and I to always respect Mother Nature and to keep a close eye on her during tornado season. There are still some people who ignore weather warnings of possible danger and as I am fond of saying, people ignore Mother Nature at their own risk.
In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Most experts predicted another terrible hurricane season in 2006. However, when the 2006 hurricane season ended very few storms showed up and no major hurricanes struck the Gulf or Atlantic coastline during hurricane season. The lack of major hurricanes in 2006 was a welcome blessing to people in New Orleans because it will take many years to rebuild that major city to its former glory. Every few weeks, there are new stories coming out of New Orleans about lingering problems in that city’s reconstruction effort and/or the flow of money into that city from the federal government. While Hurricane Rita also reach Category 5 status in 2005, this major hurricane lost most of its punch before it slammed into Texas. I remember how worried everyone was when weather forecasters were reporting the size and strength of Rita only a few short weeks after Katrina destroyed thousands of homes and killed hundreds of people in Louisiana and Mississippi. The United States dodged a big bullet when Hurricane Rita disintegrated before making landfall on the Texas and Louisiana border.
After the levees broke in New Orleans a few days after Hurricane Katrina, the big debated started about whether people should live below sea level? While many people that lived in below sea level neighborhoods, in New Orleans, wanted to move back to there old neighborhoods; many others decided to start there lives over in other cities around the country. It took over a half a year for the US Army Corps of Engineers to finally admit that there had been substandard construction when the New Orleans levee system was constructed. The Army Corps of Engineers has now promised not to cut corners while rebuilding new levees in New Orleans, but in reality no one is going to really know if these new designs will stand the test of time and the next big hurricane to strike this major city. There are major problems with the weather in springtime all over the United States and even the beautiful State of California is not immune from the wrath of Mother Nature. A little over one year ago, massive rainfall caused terrible flooding in California. Dozens of people were killed and thousands found themselves homeless after torrential rainfall caused flooding and mudslides in both the northern and southern parts of the state. I don’t think there is any location on Earth where sever weather does not strike in one form or the other from time to time.
I cannot end this segment without talking about one of the worse natural disaster in world history. About two years ago, hundreds of thousands of people were killed within a short period of time when a giant Tsunami struck Indonesia and India after a large under water earthquake in the Indiana Ocean. I still remember reading the newswires online that night as the death toll rose from hundreds to thousands of people and eventually to hundreds of thousands of people over the next few days. We all live in an unsteady world where disasters can strike us down at any time of the day or night. Some people choose to blame the victims of these types of major weather events because of their choices of where to live. However, there is no totally safe place to live on planet Earth and while people in coastal areas are more likely to suffer from floods, hurricanes and tsunami’s, other people face earthquakes and tornadoes in greater numbers. Whether a far away land suffers a disaster from a tsunami or when tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes strike closer to home, brave men and women rescuers are always around to rush to the aid of their neighbors when Mother Nature demands their presents. People in tornado alley and folks that live near the ocean understand the risk of living in a location that sometimes produce storms of unbelievable strength. What Mother Nature destroys mankind will rebuild and that process has been going on for thousands of years and will continue into the future.
Related: Weird Weather Changes, Ready For Spring, What Hurricane Season?, Texas Spring Flooding
Deadly Spring Storms