Sunday, September 4, 2011

Too Many Weather Worries

On this strangly tropical, humid September morning, there's more weather worries here in Vermont.

The forecast calls for severe thunderstorms with scary winds and hail late today, followed by another drenching rainstorm that could cause more flooding tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday.
Flooding near Fairfax, Vermont in April.

This comes a week after Tropical Storm Irene flooded Vermont in the worst disaster since 1927. We've been on the national news, and the whole state is mobilized for aid and cleanup.

It's been a weird, scary year of weather in Vermont.  I've been lucky. I have not suffered much at all from this weather,

I wonder when the other shoe will drop on me. Will the roof blow off in a bad storm this evening? Will the brook finally take out my driveway tomorrow?

I don't mean to complain. People in Vermont have been walloped repeatedly all year. So many people have lost homes, businesses, farms and livlihoods in the bad weather that keeps happening over and over again.

It feels like my turn will have to come soon.
Wreckage after flash flooding in Barre,
Vermont in May.

Luckily, until now, I've been a sad bystander to these weather problems. Sometimes the weather has been just very odd but relatively harmless, like the snow thunderstorm in February and the huge, deep blizzards of February and March.  The only pain I got out of that was a sore back from shoveling snow into eight foot deep piles.

Then the snow melted and it rained like hell. In late April, on the day tornadoes were laying waste to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and a bunch of other southern cities, flash floods swept Vermont during the heaviest April rains on record.

My little brook heaved out of its banks, covering my lawn with rocks, branches, mud and gravel. The embankment holding up my driveway collapsed.

Lots of people had it worse, with lots more property damage.

It kept raining through the month of May, making Lake Champlain's water rise to the highest level on record. Thousands of shoreline properties flooded, eroded, were battered by waves and covered in debris.
Storm clouds loom over Addison
County Vermont in July.

In the third week in May, a flash flood covered my lawn with debris again just after I cleaned from the previous storm. Other areas saw worse flooding, which lead to road washouts and damaged houses.

A week later a much bigger flash flood hit, laying waste to Barre, Vermont and surrounding areas. Central and northern Vermont communities were devastated, and they're still trying to fix the roads from that one.

During the summer, while parts of Vermont were repeatedly raked by severe thunderstorms with gale winds and giant hail, other sections of the state withered in dry weather. Farm fields that were swamps on June 1 turned into dusty, brittle messes by mid August.

Then Irene hit with its worse floods since 1927. And now we're under threat from more dangerous weather today and tomorrow.

They say that global warming is increasingly causing more extreme weather. This constant battle with the elements, I'm told, is the new normal.

I shouldn't complain about my worries, since I'm not in the same position as so many thousands of Americans who've had their lives upended this year by tornadoes, floods, wind, fire, drought and hurricanes.

But I'm getting tired of watching the television weather people have to walk us through the latest danger. Here are the roads that are closed. Here's when we think the big hail will come. The strong winds will peak this afternoon. The biggest flood danger is at rush hour tomorrow. Stay off the lake because there will be far too much lightning.
Tropical Store Irene flooding in Waitsfield,
Vermont last Sunday.

Lately, listening to the forecast every morning is getting more and more like receiving bad news from your doctor.

Which is sad. Because I want to go back to the days when the only anxiety stemming from listening to the morning weather forecast was wondering if I need to bring a sweater,

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