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Blizzard Warning

Sometimes I think the National Weather Service thinks none of us have windows in our homes.

Yes, that is snow/ice stuck to my picture window.

Mind you, I'm totally happy that we get warnings of any kind, sometimes it just seems funny to have them still going on when the storm is here and happening.

I'm reading a book I got on Saturday when hubby and I went to Bloomington for our anniversary date. (anniv. is actually tomorrow, but he's gone for work) It is called "The Children's Blizzard" by David Laskin. The true story of a blizzard that swept across the American prairie January 12, 1888 killing hundreds and in particular, killing over 100 children.

Believe me, I'm very glad we get the long range warnings we get these days.

Back then, the whole science of meteorology was extremely inaccurate and they simply did not have anyway to get information very far ahead. Then, to add insult to injury, they couldn't use certain words in their "probabilities" and "indications" (what we now call "forecasts")because they weren't to overly alarm people. For instance, they couldn't use the word 'tornado'. Also, with the speed many of the storms in the midwest develop, by the time they decided they had an actuall serious situation, it was too late. The speed of communication was still so slow, even with the telegraph, that most people simply never heard anything was coming.

Then there is a phenomenon that I have experienced myself several times. Because many of these storms rotate counter (or anti) clockwise, they pull warm southern air up ahead of them. So the day before the storm hits is often warm and balmy. Once, when we lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it was in the 70s one day in early April and I had been out in shorts and short sleeves cleaning out a flower bed. That evening I was watching TV and glanced out the window; it looked like it was raining in the light from the street lights. But no it didn't. I looked again; it was snowing. Bruce was gone to a Christian rally and by the time he got home a few hours later, we already had about 6 inches of snow on the ground. We ended up with about 2 ft. of snow.

That's what happened with the "Children's Blizzard". Children went to school with light-weight coats on because the day was warm. It had been a winter of nearly non-stop snow storms and they finally had a warm day. Farmers went into town for the first time in over a month. Then the storm hit. In three minutes, the temperature dropped 18 degrees, from above freezing to below freezing.

So, I will sit in my warm house while the storm rages outside and read of a time when it was much, much worse. We still lose people to cold weather/bilzzards, but not like it used to be.

I'm glad I live now.

I hope all of you are warm and safe :-)


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
Oooh, those pictures make me shiver!

Because many of these storms rotate counter (or anti) clockwise, they pull warm southern air up ahead of them. So the day before the storm hits is often warm and balmy.

How interesting. I agree that we're very lucky to be living in such 'communicative' times.

*sends you an extra blankie*
Feb. 13th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
oooo! extra blankie :-D Very nice on a day like today. Yes, lets hear it for satilite images and dopler radar, radio, TV and computers!

I'll share the blankie with the wee puppy and my 3 cats :-)

Feb. 13th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
Tres cool post, cher Lady Pearl Took! (no pun intended)

I think it was that winter (1888) that it was so cold that THOUSANDS of range cattle died because it got so cold that their hooves literally froze to the ground as they slept/rested/endured standing upright, and in their attempts to free themselves they literally tore their hooves that were frozen solid to the ground right off their leg.

And while that doesn't sound very possible, I have personally seen the following. You know the big heavy equipment like bulldozers and the like that roll on the cool steel caterpillar tracks? Well I have more than once while in NJ seen them get so frozen to the ground over night that the operator could not get them free by just trying to drive away - any idea how much pushing power those things can generate, and when totally frozen to the ground they sometimes can't free themselves.

Best, LPT.
Feb. 14th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
I totally believe you, mon Capitane!

Yes, that winter and, apparently, the decade from 1881 through 1891 were horrible. This author mentioned that cattle would be found dead with their noses stuck to/into mounds of ice - ice that had formed from their own breath. It would keep building up and eventually suffocate them. That sometimes they would get their legs so cut up by ice that they would bleed to death.

Pretty scary stuff.
Feb. 14th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
Wow... and so sad. Kind of like the tsunamis, where the water went out so far and lulled people into a false sense of security.

And yet, every time we have a tornado/hurricane/tsunami, it's further proof that we're in a time of bizarre weather. Helloooooo!
Feb. 14th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
Well no, not really. This happened over 100 years ago.

Another book I've been reading about the influence salt has had on civilzation mentioned that in the 1600s (I think it was), the climate in England changed & for several decades they had a warmer climate with a longer growing season. This caused a decline in the salt industry as they weren't needing to do as much preserving of food. Yet by the 1700 and 1800s, England was quite cold once again. Then, part way into the 1900s, it started getting warmer again. And that warm up has come after efforts were started to clean up the air (not burning coal, controls on factory smoke, etc.)

I really don't buy the Global Warming stuff. Nothing I have seen takes information like this into consideration. I really don't think we know enough about the history of the earth's weather patterns to say so difinitively that this isn't part of a normal cycle. The same with the hole in the ozone over Antartica. How long have we even known there was an ozone layer? How long have we been able to measure it or know if there was a hole in it? Since part way into the 1900s - not very long at all. Not long enough to know if what we have seen is a normal phenomenon or not.

The fossil evidence shows that all of the US was once tropical to semi-tropical before the ice age. And I wonder how we know any warming isn't the earth trying to go back to what it once was? That such a natural warming wouldn't increase somewhat exponentially?

Ah well, sorry. I got up on a soapbox :-(
Feb. 14th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
No, I agree - I was saying the same thing. Every time some bad weather happens now it's "oh, we've never had bad weather like this before". Wrong! And, yes, I think it's just too hard to prove that global warming is due to carbon dioxide. It may be... but I don't agree that we know it is.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )