You’ve no doubt heard the saying: “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Mark Twain said it, quoting Charles Dudley Warner, one of his close friends and a prominent author and editor and scholar.
As these two wise and clever men said, we can’t do much about the weather, and it changes plans and sometimes lives. The best we have been able to do about the weather is modify it a little and better predict what it will do. Weather satellites help us track major weather systems and better forecast how they will affect us. But we know South Texas has flash floods, which can and do claim lives.
During my years in the Air Force I spent several tours of duty in the Pacific area—Japan, Vietnam and Guam. All of these are subject to typhoons—more or less the same storms as hurricanes, but often even more destructive. Hurricane or typhoon, when you are in one, everything pretty much stops while you wait for it to go away.
Extreme weather can be destructive and dangerous, and we need to take it seriously. Our South Texas winters generally are mild—having lived “up north,” I’ve experienced much more severe winter weather—and it definitely affects how we live our lives.
I learned to respect blizzard conditions and to stay off the roads if so advised. A lonely icy road is no place to be when you are miles from any help. In Michigan, we learned to keep some warm blankets in the car, along with some emergency food in case we did get stranded.
In extreme weather of any kind, the best operating rule is to take shelter when necessary. The better abilities to forecast weather can provide us warnings of possible dangerous conditions and we should adjust our plans accordingly when weather threatens. Today’s technology and “smartphones” often get us those forecasts instantly.
Maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of weather, but we do need to respect what it can do. Waiting out a bad storm is not only fear—it’s good sense. Changing weather is pleasant and often very enjoyable, but we always need to respect the power of nature and weather. It can have the last word.
WARREN DOMKE is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express.