Real Wealth Society

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I’ve been thinking about warnings By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after Mar 12th

I’ve been thinking about warnings. Actually I’ve been thinking about the weather, directions, 2005, pictograms, little Mac II, and the League of Women Voters. Sunday, proved to be quite a day. What began as normal routine for a restful day of attending church, reading, composing email responses, and writing my weekly column certainly ended differently.


You see, I was working on a column about the games currently being played regarding raising the ceiling on the National Debt when my kitchen windows began being pelted by heavy rain and “pea-sized” hail from the East. The storm stopped as abruptly as it started… so I took MacIntosh out for his afternoon “visits.” The sky looked weird, and the clouds were rapidly moving from the Southwest, but there was a strong wind blowing at ground level from the Northeast coming in the opposite direction. This was a warning.


Our weather patterns have been getting stranger and stranger in recent years. Normally our winter storms come from the Northwest, or the North. Our most damaging spring storms come from the Southwest. When the Gulf Coast is hit with a hurricane, we might we get a (residual) storm system from the Southeast. Lately it seems like we can get weather patterns coming at us from any (or all) directions -- at any time of the year. This should be a warning.

2005 saw all kinds of extreme meteorological phenomena. There were a record number of Atlantic hurricanes that hit, our yearly precipitation was over a foot shy of the norm, and we experienced the coldest December on record which was followed by a surprisingly mild New Year. Last Friday and Saturday were more like early May than early March. My neighbor Larry was even outside in shirtsleeves hitting golf balls across his front lawn.

Sunday evening was bizarre to say the least. We saw constant warnings/alerts in the form of weather pictograms/maps on the TV screens with ever-present National Weather Service bulletins flashing across the bottom. The weather pictograms/maps had to keep alternating because we had five different types of warning/alerts (and colors) impacting the various counties of Northwest Illinois at the same time. These warning/alerts ran constantly even during the commercial advertising – that normally does not happen. Every Rockford TV station kept breaking in with their weather-persons giving “storm watch” updates. The Doppler radar depictions had more colors than a rainbow (no pun intended) and mega-multiple storm cells were hitting the entire heartland of America. This was more than a warning.

From 7 to 10 pm, it frequently sounded like trains passing thru town, but these whirring sounds were not preceded by any toot-toot-toooots - so I knew it was not a train. Then… there were periods of silence. When I checked outside, it was very still; and the copper rooster weather vane on the south garage was pointing in a different direction each time I looked. While the temperature had dropped from Sunday morning, a foggy haze was developing – this told me that the ground was colder than the surface air. A warning?

A little after 9 pm, I really began to worry when my furry little black domestic security unit, Mac II, kicked into action. He is very good about guarding me and alerts me when things are different around our home. Mac stays particularly close during storms - becoming my virtual Siamese twin. All of a sudden he “owoowed” and went under the bed. My ears began to pop - so there apparently was a sudden drop in the barometric pressure. The watches/alerts remained in effect until 4 am. There was minimal area damage. We were lucky… this time!

On Thursday, March 16th, the League of Women Voters is co-sponsoring the annual “State of the Community Dinner” at the Rochelle Country Club with the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. This year’s theme is “Pieces of the Puzzle” and the program on “local disaster planning” will be presented by the Rochelle Fire Department, the Rochelle Police Department, Rochelle Municipal Utilities, and Rochelle Community Hospital – talk about being timely. If you’re interested in attending, please check with the Chamber (562-4189) to see if spaces are still available. I m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2006 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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