Tag Archives: weather

Human nature = human mystery

Human nature and all its complexities provide human beings with one of this world’s greatest mysteries.

We’re coming out of a cold snap that enveloped much of North Texas. We awoke this morning to 20-something-degree temperatures, but it has “warmed” up to the mid-40s. Tomorrow it’ll be even warmer.

The mystery is this: Why do we humans bitch when it gets too cold and then bitch during the Dog Days of Summer (no pun intended) when it gets too hot?

Do you want more irony? Suppose we lived in an area where the climate is perfect every single day of the year. By “perfect” I mean 72 degrees, with no wind and low humidity; it would rain for about two hours every third or fourth day.

The irony of that circumstance is that we would complain about the weather “never changing.” That we would want more variety. That we would welcome a snowstorm or a heat wave … just to make life interesting.

We human beings. We’re all so fickle.


That was some storm!

We have lived in Texas long enough to know the value of being proactive in our preparation for storms when they erupt. Our proactivity paid off tonight.

How do I know that? Because my bride and I are convinced that when we are prepared for the worst, the worst quite often doesn’t arrive.

The weather forecasters were pretty excited tonight as they issued tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings. There were plenty of watches, to be sure. However, we don’t get overly concerned when they issue watch alerts; the excitement arrives when the “watches” turn to “warnings.”

Although we are relatively new to North Texas weather advisories, we did live for 23 years in the Texas Panhandle and nearly 11 years along the Gulf Coast, regions where the spring season brings plenty of explosive weather.

My wife made sure we were ready to hunker down in the bathroom, in the interior of our Collin County home. We had a mattress that we would pull over us.

Ahh, yes. The worst of it all has passed. We were ready for the worst. It didn’t visit us.

We are grateful beyond measure.


Weather changes … rapidly!

You know how it goes if you live in Texas; if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes … it’ll change.

Man, oh man. Did it ever change Monday!

We had been battling dry wind. Well, last night the dry wind turned wet and really violent! Twisters destroyed schools in Jacksboro and homes there and in Bowie. The rain pummeled us in Collin County and in all points throughout the Metroplex.

We are hearing this morning about stricken communities digging themselves out of the rubble and lending a hand to help those in trouble. That became an old story long ago around here, but it’s always one worth re-telling.

Spring arrived this past weekend and it got here with a vengeance.

We are counting our blessings today and we are wishing, hoping and praying for all the very best for our stricken neighbors.


Confession of a weather wimp

I am about to admit something I have resisted admitting.

I am a weather wimp. There. I said it out loud.

The realization came to me this morning while standing next to the fuel pump where I was putting diesel into my big ol’ pickup. The weather is chilly. It is damp. It is dank and dark. Even in Princeton, Texas, where we thought we would enjoy a more temperate climate longer into the autumn.

Oh, no! My teeth were clattering. I kept my hands buried deeply into my pockets. I couldn’t wait for the fuel pump to shut off so I could get the heck outta there, back into the truck and then back to the house.

Maybe it’s a function of age. Maybe I am just getting impatient as I wind my way toward the finish line.

We went through a long, hot summer. I longed for cooler days and nights. I lusted for a bit of rain.

Then, boom! It arrived. With something of a vengeance!

I am not going to complain too loudly about the weather. I know there ain’t a thing I can do about it. The weather is so far out of humankind’s control it’s not even worth the gripes we lay on it. And by all means, I know that many places on Earth have much more severe weather than we get in the Metroplex.

I merely am acknowledging what I’ve known to be true.

I am a weather wimp who is going to start wishing any day now for warmer temperatures … and it’s not even winter yet!

Please forgive me.

Nine tornadoes … and no casualties? I’d call that a miracle!

North Texas experienced a miracle the other night.

I can think of no other way to describe what did not happen when tornadoes plunged to the ground during savage thunderstorms and tore through many square miles of heavily populated regions of greater Dallas.

Each morning I wake up to learn that authorities keep increasing the number of tornadoes that hit the ground Sunday night.

The count of twisters as I write this brief blog post is nine. The strongest of which was an EF-3 twister that hit northwest Dallas. The rest were EF-1s and EF-2s. They pummeled communities north and east of Big D.

The miracle? There are no reported human casualties! Holy smokes, man! How does that happen?

I saw some video in real time Sunday night as storm chasers followed tornadoes along U.S. 75 and the LBJ Freeway. One team of storm chasers found a man in a pickup stalled on the highway; he gave them a thumbs up to let them know he was OK.

Then there’s the story of the manager of the Home Depot store in Dallas who — 45 minute before a tornado hit the store — ordered the outlet closed. He managed to shoo customers out of the store and ordered his employees to go home — quickly! Then the storm hit and inflicted heavy damage to the Home Depot.

The manager is a hero and my hope is that his bosses reward him handsomely for his heroism.

Several schools in the Dallas Independent School District are closed for the foreseeable future; students and teachers will be displaced and parents will have to figure out how to get their children to class on time.

There has been significant damage throughout the Metroplex. Trees were knocked down, shards of metal were thrown into the air, windows were shattered.

And no human casualties? I know that other storms brought tragedy to Arkansas and other points east of the Metroplex. My heart aches for those who are suffering. It aches, too, for those who suffered serious property damage here as well.

Still, I am shaking my head and I am expressing thanks at the miracle that transpired during that night of extreme weather violence.

Wow! That’s all one can say about that storm

This picture came from the Washington Post’s website, which leads me to believe it’s the real thing. It’s no Photoshop product, or the result of some other photographic trickery.

It is a picture of what occurred over Dallas, Texas, yesterday. The storm produced high wind, heavy rain and it knocked over a construction crane in the city’s downtown district.

They call this phenomenon a “microburst.” It was deadly, indeed. One person died when the crane crashed into a building, cutting the structure virtually in two.

I got an inquiry from a friend downstate who asked if had experienced any of that mayhem. I told her “no,” and noted that we got a bit of rain and a little bit of wind in Princeton, which is about 40 or so miles north of Dallas.

I have heard it said about Texas weather — whether it’s on the Gulf Coast or in the Panhandle, where we have lived during our 35 years in Texas — that “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes …” I also have heard it said of the Panhandle that “You can experience all the seasons of the year in just a matter of minutes.”

Let it also be said of North Texas, where we now call home, that meteorological violence can erupt just on the other side of our neighborhood.

Storms such as the one that roared Sunday over downtown Dallas can produce magnificent images … but they aren’t to be trifled with.


‘Atmospheric river’? Huh? Eh?

PORTLAND. Ore. — We are being swept up in something I never knew existed.

The TV weathermen and women here are referring to something called an “atmospheric river.” You might ask, “What the bleep is that?”

I have deduced it describes a long band of rain clouds that is tracking over a region. We are RV-parked along the Columbia River in Portland. It’s been raining like the dickens almost since the day of our arrival. Weather conditions are producing more of it, which is welcome around here, given the Eagle Creek fire that incinerated much of the forest land around the Columbia Gorge.

But I am amused/bemused at this new meteorological term of art: atmospheric river.

The last time I heard weather people glom on to a particular term I guess was that “polar vortex.” I laughed when I heard that one.

Whenever I hear the term “vortex,” I flash back to 1970. They had a music festival here then. It took place at McIver State Park near Estacada, which is southeast of Portland in the foothills of the Cascade Range. I recall it was meant to protest the Vietnam War.

They called it “Vortex.” The most interesting part of it was how then-Gov. Tom McCall decriminalized marijuana use during the run of the festival. I believe the late governor wanted to give those rascally kids a pass on getting stoned while they “protested” whatever it was they were protesting. No need to hassle them and assign lots of cops to round ’em up, McCall thought.

Just so you know: I didn’t attend Vortex.

I digress.

“Atmospheric river” is a descriptive term used to define a lot of rain. That “river” has become a rapids.

And aren’t you just relieved that climate change is just a giant, cooked-up “hoax”?