By Bruce Stambaugh
After another wonderful summer day with partly sunny skies, pleasant temperatures, light breezes and little humidity, I’m watching the rain pour down.
It’s July. It’s Ohio. It’s the way weather happens here.
After the harsh winter and cool, damp spring, we were ready for an old-fashioned summertime. To be clear, that meant nothing but clear skies and warm sunny weather through September.
Of course, that never really has happened, never will. But we can dream can’t we?
The truth is we need to be honest with ourselves about summer weather in Ohio. We can have good days, better days, and then there’s the rest. Some of Ohio’s summer weather can be downright nasty, if not hazardous.
The consequential weather can be fearsome, and put a kink into your best-laid plans. A picture perfect day can morph into our worst nightmares. Tornadoes, hail storms, damaging thunderstorm winds are among the wicked weather menu options.
The July 1969 flood comes to mind. I didn’t live in Holmes County then. Still, the storm was widespread, and I saw damage and destruction. I was an intern reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. I headed to the Chautauqua Institution near Jamestown, New York for the holiday weekend.
I didn’t stay long. All the activities got rained out. On the way back to my apartment in a western Cleveland suburb, I passed several ConEdison power company trucks in New York heading west on the interstate.
I stopped at the newspaper on the way back and saw photos of boats being bashed against the rocky lakeshore. Power was out in much of the Cleveland area, including my neighborhood. In fact, one of those ConEdison trucks that I had passed was parked in front of my apartment.
Powerful winds drove the pouring rain right through the old, thick brick walls of our building. Huge trees snapped in a nearby park, and teenagers directed traffic at busy intersections.
Six weeks later I saw the damage done in Killbuck, my new home. Folks were still trying to recover from the devastating flood that touched nearly every building in the creekside town.
Weather is to be both appreciated and respected when it interrupts our human plans. When we hear thunder, we need to take cover. Avoid those treacherous floodwaters and find another way around.
Click on the photos to enlarge.
As a weather buff, I cringe when I hear of people being struck by lightning playing golf or baseball, and when I learn of youngsters being swept away playing in swollen streams. Those are sad stories that need not have happened.
Weather is a lot like life, isn’t it? A wise Amish farmer once told me, “We just have to take whatever weather comes our way.” I think that philosophy applies to other aspects of our lives as well.
How do we respond when one of life’s happenings strikes us like a lightning bolt?
A surprise medical diagnosis by the doctor, an unexpected budget-breaking bill, a broken relationship, the death of a loved one can all wash over our emotions like a flash flood.
It’s summer in Ohio. Not every day will be sunny, nor will everything that happens to us be fair. We can’t change the weather, and sometimes can’t even alter our personal circumstances.
What we can do is keep on hoping for sunny summer days. It won’t be all cloudy and miserable forever.
It’s July. It’s Ohio. It’s the way weather and life happen here.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2015
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