Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2008

A strong force

June 19, 2008

Mother Nature is not a force to reckon with; it's a simple axiom but one that bears repeating in this season of storms.

Those with any doubts about nature's force can look locally to people such as Shawnee resident Ian Burnett, whose Pontiac Grand Am was smashed by a Bradford pear tree that was split in half during a storm this past week. Basehor resident Katie Mather was in her kitchen washing dishes June 2 when she saw lightning strike the metal clothesline pole in her back yard. Mather said she was shaken by the shock with numbness on the right side of her body, ringing in her ears and an overall feeling of panic.

Those two examples aren't even close to the magnitude of damage Mother Nature has wrought elsewhere lately.

In Chapman and Manhattan, Kan., residents continue the cleanup and rebuilding necessitated by tornadoes that struck last week. On the Kansas State University campus alone, damages were estimated at $20 million.

About 450 miles to the northeast of Chapman, residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are battling a different form of nature's fury: floodwaters. More than 24,000 residents from Iowa's second-largest city had to evacuate their homes.

Whether Mother Nature's ire is immediate - as in high winds, lightning or tornadoes - or longer term - flooding - the past week should have taught at least two lessons: Listen to the authorities and experts and take shelter or evacuate if advised; when a storm approaches, it's best to take cover despite the human tendency to watch the fury unfold.

We do, after all, want to be around after a storm to appreciate Mother Nature's other beauties.

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