I’m huddled in my bed as outside the rain and wind tangle and tango outside. The noise against my window is reaching the deafening point and I just want to crawl under the covers and disappear until it is all over.
My mother enters the room and comforts me.
“The rain won’t get in here,” she says. “We are on high ground.”
The occasion? Hurricane Hazel hitting Toronto with a vengeance in October 1954. And no water got into our bungalow and no tree or other damage was done in our area. In lower areas of Toronto, much damage was done. See the anniversary story at http://www.hurricanehazel.ca/
I’m huddled on the living room chesterfield, my eyes and mind glued to the TV. On The Weather Network, the meteorologist on duty and a senior meteorologist are taking us through the storm of heavy winds, heavy rain, non-stop lightning and thunder. This is for all of southern Ontario. Suddenly the Red Alert flashes and sounds on the screen. Tornado warning for the Goderich area. Goderich was hit by a devastating destructive tornado four years ago.
It is now June 2015 and my mother is long dead. It is just me. What was a very infrequent occurrence in 1954 is today the norm. Every time thunderstorms and/or heavy winds are forecast, we have to pause and to more than take note. We have to ask ourselves not if any damage will occur, but what damage will occur. And where.
The meteorologists used their digital maps and very competently explained down to the current minute what was occurring where and what was expected where and when in the next hour or two. At the bottom of the screen the Red Alert scrolled with ominous forecasts of heavy winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, hail, etc. including where. As the weather cells shifted around, the forecasts and locations changed somewhat – often for the worst.
I couldn’t help thinking that all this digital technology, the Canada-wide tornado alerts now issued by Environment Canada, can keep us all apprised of what is going on and what can happen. But it can’t change the weather. It can’t stop the too much extreme weather from occurring anywhere in the world. Is it better to know what is to come? Or is ignorance bliss?
Knowledge is supposed to be power. But knowledge can’t control the weather.
As the lady on the bus said the end of May.
“God controls the weather.”
And you can take that one whatever way you want to.
The floods, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. are still coming.
For the record, a tornado did not hit Goderich – this time. But a tornado might have touched down just outside Goderich – Environment Canada is still checking that one out.
And in the Toronto area, the storm stuff died down around 2 a.m. and I finally went to bed and to sleep.
Today, we are not out of the woods. We have high winds and have to worry about power problems, trees and branches falling down.
Makes me wonder if the woods would be safer.
Just kidding. Although there is nothing funny about the weather in this millennium.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes