| All my life I have been fascinated by the weather. At one time, I entertained the idea of becoming a meteorologist until I realized I would have to be better at math to handle the necessary education.
Until the age of 18 I lived where the weather was fairly oppressive for two seasons of the year. In the summer there was unbearable heat and humidity, in the winter, snow, sleet, and cold. There was an interim period in my life when the weather could be said to have been almost ideal. Then, I, for some stupid reason, moved back into the snow, sleet, and cold region. Not mention thunderstorms, which were non-existent in the middle of my life, and a good thing they were.
My mother was terrified by electrical storms. I can remember being gathered up and taken with her into a windowless central hallway, until the clashes and flashes subsided. I don’t think the dangerous part of the action scared her as much as the benign but horrendous noise.
I grew up with a healthy fear of the power of lightening, not lessened by the death of a friend who was killed when she opened her refrigerator door during a storm. There was another occasion when lightening entered a friend’s living room, zapping four walls and blessedly missing people. We once had a bolt hit a willow tree in our back yard and then a metal fence at the end of the garden. A neighbor, with a similar fence, had tied up his cucumber vines on it and the lightening french-fried them. I will never forget the terrible, explosive sound when the bolt zapped the willow.
When I was a kid, a hurricane somehow blew into the northeast with great force. In those days there were no technical aids to forecasting or following storms on the level that exist now. I remember how the day the hurricane hit; it became as dark as night and terribly still at noon. Suddenly, the fierce winds and rains started.
We were living on the southernmost part of the Hudson River, right open to the North Sea. Long Island Sound was really hurt. The only warning was the barometer hitting rock bottom. Very few people owned one, and no one seemed to know what the reading meant.
We lost almost every window in our big house. The noise was terrible but no one was hurt. Incredibly, the same thing happened the following year. This time it blew the front glassed in porch right off the face of the house.
I don’t think there’s been another storm like those two in the area since then and I never have read the why’s and wherefores of those particular hurricanes.
Today, there’s another hurricane problem the number of them. We may be able to track them from their start as a sea breeze, and track them every inch of their way, but we are still unable to stop them or even slow them down. The best we can do is prepare for them.
I’ve been glued to the weather channel since Ivan appeared on satellite screens. My grandson, Jamie and his wife and kitten live in Panama City, Florida, a central part of Ivan’s target area. Fortunately, they don’t live on the beach.
They had experienced the storm preceding Ivan, but it hit the eastern part of the state, and while they had strong winds and rain, they were spared the brunt of the weather. This time, they had the same luck as Ivan took a turn to the west.
They had been evacuated and had a safe place to go with a friend whose family home was inland. They had taped their windows, loaded their car with the kitten and computer, and made it out of town before Zero Hour.
I was a wreck. For three days I hung on the Weather Channel, and sat up until 3 a.m. the night Ivan landed. The next day I received word that the kids and kitten were OK. I could breathe deeply and stop pestering my daughter with phone calls.
The reporting was fascinating. One thing I noticed the TV meteorologists are all very good looking. I wonder how they are at math?